scarce

adjective
\ ˈskers \
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

Synonyms & Antonyms for scarce

Synonyms: Adjective

deficient, inadequate, insufficient, lacking, low, short, shy, wanting

Antonyms: Adjective

adequate, enough, sufficient

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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

But even free Shakespeare comes at a price – not just because of the scarce arts dollars that could be spent elsewhere, but also because a newbie who first experiences Shakespeare through a production like this one is unlikely to ever come back. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This 'King Lear' more humdrum than tragic," 6 July 2018 Albania is trying to protect and capitalize on its rich underwater heritage, long neglected by its former communist regime, but preservation still receives scarce funding from the government in one of Europe's poorest nations. Llazar Semini, Fox News, "Archaeologists urge Albania to protect underwater heritage," 4 July 2018 Aja compares Valentina to Linda Evangelista In a season where drama was relatively scarce, one moment reigned supreme above the rest — when Brooklyn queen Aja became an internet meme by reading fan favorite Valentina. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "10 of the Best Reads in 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Herstory," 2 July 2018 Bloody clashes between farmers and nomadic herders in Nigeria’s central Plateau State in late June claimed at least 86 lives, as each group vied for the region’s increasingly scarce farmland. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Land Conflict Has Long Been a Problem in Nigeria. Here’s How Climate Change Is Making It Worse," 28 June 2018 In Chlamydomonas, an ancient stress response pathway blocks reproduction at night, when photosynthesis shuts down and resources are scarcer. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "The momentous transition to multicellular life may not have been so hard after all," 28 June 2018 Wild baby eels, also known as glass eels or elvers, acquired to seed giant aquaculture farms in China and elsewhere were becoming scarce—putting supplies of unagi, eel grilled with soy sauce and served at sushi joints around the world, in danger. National Geographic, "19 Eel Smugglers Sentenced, But Lucrative Trade Persists," 27 June 2018 On top of all that, a punishing dry season leaves the pair with little vegetation and scarce fresh water. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Teen Mom's Maci Bookout Tries to Survive 14 Days on Naked and Afraid: 'I Feel Really Confident'," 22 June 2018 The father, Will (Ben Foster), counts while the daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), makes herself scarce. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Leave No Trace” and “Three Identical Strangers”," 21 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to scarce

make oneself scarce

Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scarce

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

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More Definitions for scarce

scarce

adjective

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)

: almost not at all : scarcely or hardly

scarce

adjective
\ ˈskers \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on scarce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scarce

Spanish Central: Translation of scarce

Nglish: Translation of scarce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scarce for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scarce

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