scarce

adjective
\ ˈskers How to pronounce scarce (audio) \
scarcer; scarcest

Definition of scarce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand : not plentiful or abundant
2 : intentionally absent made himself scarce at inspection time

scarce

adverb

Definition of scarce (Entry 2 of 2)

: scarcely, hardly scarce was independence half a century old, when a … split occurred— John McPhee

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Other Words from scarce

Adjective

scarceness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for scarce

Adjective

infrequent, uncommon, scarce, rare, sporadic mean not common or abundant. infrequent implies occurrence at wide intervals in space or time. infrequent family visits uncommon suggests a frequency below normal expectation. smallpox is now uncommon in many countries scarce implies falling short of a standard or required abundance. jobs were scarce during the Depression rare suggests extreme scarcity or infrequency and often implies consequent high value. rare first editions sporadic implies occurrence in scattered instances or isolated outbursts. sporadic cases of influenza

Examples of scarce in a Sentence

Adjective Food was getting scarce during the drought. food was a bit scarce last winter Adverb I could scarce believe what I was hearing.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So Ohio State called on a true freshman who had played scarce backup snaps and none with the first unit in the biggest game of the season. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s unproven freshmen helped break the Clemson curse: Nathan Baird’s observations," 3 Jan. 2021 Since the decision to end the season, information has been scarce and sporadic. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Duke women's basketball players do the right thing by canceling season," 31 Dec. 2020 And although Cleveland, the county seat of Bolivar, is a university town, which brings economic activity, good jobs are scarce enough that some residents travel across state lines for work. NBC News, "As Covid surges in Mississippi Delta, food banks and hospitals are stretched thin," 31 Dec. 2020 Details remained scarce in the report by semiofficial Tasnim news agency. BostonGlobe.com, "No travel history in 1st reported US case of COVID-19 variant," 30 Dec. 2020 Efficiently and effectively allocating scarce relief funds to help struggling American families in a time of national crisis is a monumental enough task without the spread of misleading information about the nature of the legislation. Andrew Wilford, National Review, "There’s More to the COVID-Relief Bill than ‘Just’ $600 Checks," 28 Dec. 2020 The exploding number of COVID-19 patients is making intensive care unit beds vanishingly scarce and causing apocalyptic scenes to play out in hospitals large and small. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Why L.A. is uniquely vulnerable," 28 Dec. 2020 Startups received both during the Obama Administration but still failed because of technical problems and scarce demand. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Biden’s Climate All Stars," 27 Dec. 2020 This pandemic Christmas Eve has turned what should be a preciously scarce moment to spend time with her family into yet another daily instalment of her life as a widow who lives alone. Emilio Morenatti, ajc, "Virus magnifies the solitude for the elderly at Christmas," 25 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scarce.' 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 scarce

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scarce

Adjective

Middle English scars, from Anglo-French eschars, escars narrow, stingy, deficient, from Vulgar Latin *excarpsus, literally, plucked out, past participle of Latin excerpere to pluck out — more at excerpt

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Time Traveler for scarce

Time Traveler

The first known use of scarce was in the 14th century

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Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scarce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scarce. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for scarce

scarce

adjective
How to pronounce scarce (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scarce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very small in amount or number : not plentiful

scarce

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of scarce (Entry 2 of 2)

literary : almost not at all : scarcely or hardly

scarce

adjective
\ ˈskers How to pronounce scarce (audio) \
scarcer; scarcest

Kids Definition of scarce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not plentiful Food was scarce during the war.

scarce

adverb

Kids Definition of scarce (Entry 2 of 2)

: hardly, scarcely … I could scarce conceal a shudder when he laid his hand upon my arm.— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

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Comments on scarce

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