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

Both teams have excellent starting pitching staffs so runs figure to be scarce early. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Simulated All-Star Game: Matt Chapman propels American League to walk-off win," 9 July 2019 Headlines and searing images made public in past days and weeks have served as a stark reminder for Americans far from the border of a crisis for which solutions seem scarce: An immigrant father and daughter drowned in the Rio Grande. Author: Elliot Spagat, Anchorage Daily News, "Jarring images of border cells surface ahead of July 4," 4 July 2019 Headlines and searing images made public in past days and weeks have served as a stark reminder for Americans far from the border of a crisis for which solutions seem scarce: An immigrant father and daughter drowned in the Rio Grande. Washington Post, "Jarring images of border cells surface ahead of July 4," 3 July 2019 Cheap, abundant parking will encourage more people to drive, while scarce, expensive parking will nudge them onto public transit and bicycles, or prod them to walk. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "How to get to the A’s proposed ballpark? Oakland council anxiously counts the ways," 3 July 2019 Booming growth along Colorado’s semi-arid Front Range has led to cities buying farms to take control of rights to withdraw scarce water from the river, a relatively feeble source given the magnitude of urban, industrial and agricultural development. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Big new reservoirs planned northeast of Denver would divert more of South Platte’s Nebraska-bound water to thirsty metro suburbs," 30 June 2019 At stake is its billion-dollar brand, which depends on keeping its products scarce. Khadeeja Safdar, WSJ, "How Supreme Got Pulled Into a Fight for Its Billion-Dollar Brand," 28 June 2019 Davidson’s extensive collection also includes scarce editions of many of Orwell’s other books, essays and journalistic writings. USA TODAY, "Whiskey webs, alien abductions, goldfish invasion: News from around our 50 states," 25 June 2019 Photo: WSJ Digital Cash By Finn Brunton Princeton, 255 pages, $26.95 Mr. Brunton, a professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, begins his story in the Great Depression, a time of scarce cash. Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "‘Digital Cash’ Review: Bitcoin and Beyond," 23 June 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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Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

12 Jul 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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