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 The most basic form of affordable housing — a one-bedroom apartment renting for less than $1,000 — has become particularly scarce. Robert Gebeloff, New York Times, "As Rents Outrun Pay, California Families Live on a Knife’s Edge," 21 Nov. 2019 Space in Kentucky's 2020 class is becoming scarce, but if Calipari does elect to offer Traynor, the stakes will be even higher for Mack to secure his commitment. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What Devin Askew's commitment means for Kentucky basketball recruiting," 12 Oct. 2019 The move is aimed at restoring the amount of reserves banks hold at the Fed to at least the levels seen early last month, before short-term lending markets suffered a sharp rise in borrowing costs as cash became scarce. Los Angeles Times, "Federal Reserve to buy $60 billion of Treasury bills per month," 11 Oct. 2019 As food became scarce, people became underweight, undernourished, and susceptible to disease. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "In Its Fight with Venezuela, the Trump Administration Takes Aim at Cuba," 10 Oct. 2019 Nor did such reports account for the fact that from the 1940s to the 1970s, most natural resources did not become demonstrably more scarce. Christopher F. Jones, The New Republic, "The Delusion and Danger of Infinite Economic Growth," 1 Oct. 2019 Cash would have become scarce sooner or later, says Bill English of Yale University. The Economist, "Why the Fed was forced to intervene in short-term money markets," 19 Sep. 2019 But the hit songs that once fueled Kings of Leon’s popularity have become increasingly scarce. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: KAABOO concludes first day with Maren Morris, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg and more," 14 Sep. 2019 After an area is devastated by a storm, resources become scarce. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Why Hurricanes Makes This Spider Even More Aggressive," 19 Aug. 2019

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

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Scarce.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scarce. Accessed 16 December 2019.

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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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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

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