pau·​ci·​ty | \ ˈpȯ-sə-tē How to pronounce paucity (audio) \

Definition of paucity

1 : smallness of number : fewness
2 : smallness of quantity : dearth

Learn a Little About Paucity

Paucity refers to "littleness" in numbers (as in "a paucity of facts") or quantity ("a paucity of common sense"). The word comes from paucus, Latin for "little."

Examples of paucity in a Sentence

If you had one of those Yugoslav names with a paucity of vowels, you might sprinkle in a few … — Calvin Trillin, Time, 22 May 2000 For my part, I find increasingly that I miss the simplicity, the almost willful paucity, of the English way of doing things. — Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999 This relative paucity of freeloaders and deadbeats means that rookie Americans, as a group, more than pay their way. — Jaclyn Fierman, Fortune, 9 Aug. 1993 a paucity of useful answers to the problem of traffic congestion at rush hour
Recent Examples on the Web Their paucity of space and equipment meant that activities typically done at home, like eating and socializing, would instead be conducted out on the street. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 The situation on other Tongan islands remains uncertain due to a paucity of information that stems from power blackouts and loss of communications. Stephen Wright, WSJ, 16 Jan. 2022 The influx of big releases, combined with some calendar catch-up, could mean the paucity of brand new 2022 hits may not last for much longer. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, 11 Apr. 2022 That paucity of Republican support is incongruous to how the public feels about the judge. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 Among the main challenges for those who research bridge suicides is the paucity of survivors. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Mar. 2022 The paucity of Black federal appeals court judges means Biden must consider candidates with broader professional experiences. Jennifer Hijazi,, 27 Jan. 2022 The book’s designers were limited only by the dimensions of the cover, not by a paucity of similar quotes. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2021 If a lack of political will was to blame for the paucity of cases, so was a lack of resources. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paucity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of paucity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paucity

Middle English paucite, from Latin paucitat-, paucitas, from paucus little — more at few

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The first known use of paucity was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near paucity

paucis verbis



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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paucity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on paucity

Nglish: Translation of paucity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paucity for Arabic Speakers


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