paucity

noun
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 scientific backing for charcoal’s claimed health benefits does not seem to have dampened enthusiasm in the marketplace. Laura Daily, The Seattle Times, "How charcoal escaped the grill and ended up in your bathroom," 12 Apr. 2019 But supporters of the mayor’s plan have said the schools’ paucity of black and Hispanic students was a troubling reflection of the system’s broader segregation, and deserved an urgent fix. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Parents at Packed Meeting Oppose Proposal to Change Admissions at City’s Elite Public High Schools," 4 Dec. 2018 Bond investors have been hamstrung recently by a paucity of U.S. economic-data releases, some of which haven’t been released because of the partial government shutdown. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Mixed," 14 Jan. 2019 The lack of hands-on previews and relative paucity of information about Red Dead Redemption 2 thus far is relatively par for the course as far as Rockstar Games releases go. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Red Dead Redemption 2," 9 Aug. 2018 Generally speaking, there is a paucity of research that herbal breastfeeding supplements actually work. E.j. Dickson, Vox, "Inside the mommy-friendly, scientifically sketchy world of breastfeeding supplements," 20 Dec. 2018 But given the team’s paucity of talent, management gladly let the young fastballer eat up innings. Dan Greene, SI.com, "Flight of the Sole Man," 8 Mar. 2018 With the economy healthy, more Americans want to buy homes, but there is a paucity of houses for sale. Christopher Rugaber, Fox News, "Strong US growth likely drove healthy job gain in July," 3 Aug. 2018 The paucity of craters speckling Sputnik Planitia shows that the ice plain's surface has been shaped by geological activity recently. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Pluto Has Dunes, But They're Not Made of Sand," 31 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near paucity

pauciloquy

paucispiral

paucis verbis

paucity

paughty

paukpan

Paul

Statistics for paucity

Last Updated

2 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for paucity

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

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More Definitions for paucity

paucity

noun

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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More from Merriam-Webster on paucity

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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