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

Definition of paucity

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

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Learn a Little About Paucity

Paucity, which was first recorded in English in the 15th century, comes to us from the Middle English word paucite, and is ultimately derived from "paucus," Latin for little. It is not surprising, then, that "paucity" came to refer to a "littleness" of numbers (as in "a paucity of facts or studies") or quantity ("a paucity of evidence"). One can even use paucity when speaking of abstract concepts, as in "a paucity of experience or knowledge."

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
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Recent Examples on the Web States say the paucity of shots is one reason why immunizations have declined. Author: Aniruddha Ghosal, Maria Cheng, Anchorage Daily News, "India launches effort to inoculate all adults against COVID-19," 2 May 2021 The paucity of moon craters honoring women is both surprising and not surprising, said Kelsi N. Singer, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. New York Times, "Why Aren’t More Moon Craters Named for Women?," 27 Apr. 2021 According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry's trade group, somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Coming this summer: Gas stations running out of gas," 27 Apr. 2021 Our knowledge of Neanderthal hunting weapons stands in stark contrast to the paucity of data concerning other aspects of their culture. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "Why Did They Vanish?," 27 Apr. 2021 The letter was circulated by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, which also released a study outlining the paucity of philanthropic support for Asian American communities. Star Tribune, "Philanthropists call for more grants to aid Asian Americans," 26 Mar. 2021 But the paucity of nonconference games limited the availability of data, making whiffs unavoidable. oregonlive, "NCAA Tournament winners and losers: It’s the Pac-12′s world, for once (and maybe for 2 more weeks)," 23 Mar. 2021 But one also can’t discount the paucity of public records documenting the births, marriages, and deaths of African-Americans, not to mention their accomplishments. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, "Ann Lowe’s Barrier-Breaking Mid-Century Couture," 22 Mar. 2021 And any further restrictions would compound the hurdles facing Covax, among them a paucity of funding for every part of inoculation programs beyond the touchdown of doses at airports. New York Times, "Western Warnings Tarnish Covid Vaccines the World Badly Needs," 14 Apr. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for paucity

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

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Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paucity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of paucity

formal : a small amount of something : an amount that is less than what is needed or wanted

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