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 While plot details for the film are scarce, Nolan has made a name for himself by rejecting CGI where most directors would include it. Fox News, "Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' delays release again amid reported coronavirus spikes," 26 June 2020 In Las Vegas, which reopened casinos on June 4, masks were recommended but not required and have been scarce. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Atlantic City Casinos Reopen on July 2 — What to Know," 24 June 2020 My friends locked out of Beijing, Liz and Daniel, have to stay a bit longer in Budapest—flights out of Hungary have been scarce, and foreigners are not allowed into China. Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic, "The Death of Cosmopolitanism," 23 June 2020 At some events, like in Chicago and New York, participants packed together, though many wore masks; at others, masks were scarce, though. Anchorage Daily News, "Amid protests for racial justice, Juneteenth celebrations get new urgency," 20 June 2020 While more recent polling is scarce, a 2017 Fox News poll found 61% of Americans were against taking down Confederate monuments, while 29% were in favor. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Trump gambles on holding the line against renaming military bases," 16 June 2020 Mice enter a state known as daily torpor, lasting only hours, to conserve energy when food is scarce. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Switch in Mouse Brain Induces a Deep Slumber Similar to Hibernation," 15 June 2020 Although hard numbers are scarce, there are anecdotal reports that more women were worried about raising a family in the midst of the economic destruction caused by the measures to combat the virus. BostonGlobe.com, "Coronavirus created an obstacle course for safe abortions," 14 June 2020 High-paying jobs and decent housing for low-income individuals are scarce. Joe Guillen, Freep.com, "From 1967 to George Floyd: Detroit activists connect the dots to fight inequality," 14 June 2020

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

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scarce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scarce. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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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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