Definition of rarefied
1 : being less dense
2 : of, relating to, or interesting to a select group : esoteric
3 : very high
rarefied was our Word of the Day on 08/29/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of rarefied in a sentence
It's difficult to breathe in the rarefied air near the mountain's peak.
Did You Know?
Rarefied was formed from the verb rarefy, which derives from a combination of the Latin rarus ("thin" or "rare") with facere ("to make") and has meant "to make thin" since the 14th century. In its original uses back in the 1500s, the adjective rarefied was on the lean side too; it meant "made less dense" (as in "the fog lifted and we could breathe more easily in the rarefied air"). By the 17th century, rarefy had gained the sense "to refine or purify," and over time rarefied followed suit.
First Known Use of rarefied
RAREFIED Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of rarefied for English Language Learners
: understood by only a small group of people : only for people who know about a particular thing
of air : not having much oxygen because of being high up in the atmosphere
Seen and Heard
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