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

This win was undoubtedly ugly, with yards hard to come by and points even more scarce. Seattle Times Sports Staff, The Seattle Times, "What the national media are saying about the Seahawks’ win over the Vikings on #MNF," 11 Dec. 2018 When electricity becomes more scarce and expensive, the cranes will release each brick and harvest the energy from their fall. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Battery idea: Hydroelectric pumped storage, but with bricks," 18 Nov. 2018 This lasted into the 90s, but the well eventually dried up as scientific research funding became more and more scarce. Scott Yorko, Popular Mechanics, "Back to Alaska: How a Legendary Glacier Adventure Almost Died When the World Needed It Most," 12 Sep. 2018 Prices have gone up as real dollars have become even more scarce. The Economist, "Zimbabwe’s new president may not be able to fix the economy," 19 May 2018 Federal funding is getting more scarce, and the city should look for more local money. Katherine Sayre, NOLA.com, "Cantrell should increase short-term rental tax, focus on affordable housing, committee says," 4 May 2018 But professional nutrition guidance on how to fast for Ramadan is still far too scarce. Nazima Qureshi, SELF, "3 Ways I Make Nutrition Advice More Culturally Relevant to Muslim Women Like Myself," 3 Apr. 2019 Bills of the near-worthless local currency, the bolívar, are incredibly scarce — with the government having a hard time even paying for the paper needed to print them. Anthony Faiola, The Seattle Times, "Venezuela’s inflation rate may hit 1,000,000 percent," 24 July 2018 Workplace student loan benefits are still scarce, Mr. Kalscheur said, but many employers do offer some sort of match for retirement contributions. Ann Carrns, New York Times, "To Draw Workers, Employers Offer to Help With Student Loans," 26 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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Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

17 May 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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