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.
Recent Examples of rarefied from the Web
As with the ever more rarefied tiers of frequent-flier programs or V.I.P. floors at hotels, the appeal of MD Squared and Private Medical is about intangibles like time, access and personal attention.
Three years ago, Los Angeles city officials demanded that builders halt work on a colossal mansion in the rarefied hills of Bel-Air.
James has reached a rarefied air this postseason, surpassing Michael Jordan on the career playoff scoring list while leading Cavs through an Eastern Conference that looked more overmatched than ever.
In the rarefied realms in which Trump and Kushner operate, the line between an objet d’art to be appreciated and a commodity to be moved is a fine one.
Milk Room is a tiny altar to the heady, rarefied world of vintage spirits and amaros.
In the rarefied world of AI research, the brightest minds aren’t driven by—or at least not only by—the next product cycle or profit margin.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rarefied'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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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