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 The paucity of underrepresented minorities in an industry increasingly dominating the U.S. economy drew sharp scrutiny from company shareholders and Washington lawmakers. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "George Floyd protests lead to reckoning as Black employees speak out on racism and discrimination in the workplace," 17 June 2020 Yoshiharu Izumi, an analyst at SBI Securities Co., says that Keyence holds talks with shareholders and that reassures investors, and doesn’t view the paucity of disclosure as a problem. Gearoid Reidy,, "A $100 Billion Robotics Supplier Is Japan’s Second Biggest Firm," 7 June 2020 But there are two main reasons for the paucity of potential pets. Mandy Behbehani,, "Everybody in the Bay Area wants a furry friend for the pandemic," 3 June 2020 The paucity of details on the prime minister’s condition or any sign of ongoing communication between him and Mr. Raab deepened the unease. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Boris Johnson Moved to Intensive Care; Foreign Minister Deputized," 4 Apr. 2020 If the show often plays like a hits compilation with commentary, the relative paucity of extended dramatic scenes is overshadowed at every step by the sheer exhilaration of the musical performances. David Rooney, Billboard, "'Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations': Theater Review," 22 Mar. 2019 Is a four-banger Supra affordable enough to justify its paucity of ponies? Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "2021 Toyota Supra Four-Cylinder Is a More Approachable Supra," 13 May 2020 But with gates closed to guests because of the coronavirus pandemic, zoos are facing unprecedented challenges in caring for their animal populations, which – despite a paucity of paying visitors – still need to be fed and cared for. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (May 10)," 8 May 2020 Even at the time, there was a paucity of news coverage of the pandemic relative to the war, and historical memory has only increased this gap between the representation of the two events. Evan Kindley, The New Yorker, "Why Anxious Readers Under Quarantine Turn to “Mrs. Dalloway”," 10 Apr. 2020

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

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Paucity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce paucity (audio)

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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paucity

Spanish Central: Translation of paucity

Nglish: Translation of paucity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paucity for Arabic Speakers

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