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

Unfortunately, though, jobs for black women at that time were scarce. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Keke Palmer’s New True-Crime Show Queenpins Is About to Be Your Obsession," 29 Mar. 2019 One of America’s hottest labor markets is in West Texas, where the brisket is scarce, the ‘man-camps’ are full, and oil workers with no time to spare pay $75 to skip the line at the barber shop. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "In This Oil Boom Town, Even a Barber Can Make $180,000," 1 Mar. 2019 Details are scarce as to exactly how the pilot will be distributed. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Old Comedy Central Pilot to Be Released, Former Costar Max Greenfield Reveals," 27 Mar. 2019 Mexican cartels have been aggressively pushing meth into the U.S. market, including places like the Northeast, where the stimulant was once relatively scarce, Drug Enforcement Administration agents said. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Methamphetamine Is Flooding Into U.S., Drug Officials Say," 17 Mar. 2019 Details on Meghan Marke's soon-to-arrive royal baby have been scarce—but Buckingham Palace just dropped a hint that the Duchess's due date is nearing. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Doesn't Have Any More Official Engagements Planned Before Her Maternity Leave," 14 Mar. 2019 Many people saw foreign refugees as competition for scarce jobs. Jeff Gammage, Philly.com, "History repeats: When America turned away refugees," 9 June 2018 The Agriculture Department is focusing on opioid misuse in rural areas, where treatment resources are scarce. Carla K. Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Q&A: Feds tackle opioid epidemic, but is it helping?," 28 Jan. 2019 Again, specifics as to what would happen next (and when those very things would happen) were scarce. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Airbnb’s ‘Superguest’ Program: The Benefits We Want to See," 18 Dec. 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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Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

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)

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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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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