scarce

adjective
\ˈskers \
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

Synonyms & Antonyms for scarce

Synonyms: Adjective

deficient, inadequate, insufficient, lacking, low, short, shy, wanting

Antonyms: Adjective

adequate, enough, sufficient

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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

Alas, the vote-hungry politicians, stodgy bureaucrats, dreamy professors and opportunistic middlemen who often end up steering policy do not always succeed in making the most of scarce resources. The Economist, "Indian states are testing a new way of setting development priorities," 14 June 2018 With scarce resources, the airline had leased two planes from Pakistan International Airlines for those first journeys to Karachi. Afshin Molavi, CNN, "Is Dubai a model for economic diversification in the Persian Gulf?," 4 June 2018 Even in luxury hotels that don't offer those cheap nailed-to-the-wall dryers, access to any kind of diffuser attachment is scarce. Andrea Arterbery, Glamour, "For Women of Color, Hotel Shampoo Isn't Just Meh—It's Literally Unusable," 16 May 2018 Together these changes have shifted market power away from the firms that own content toward the digital platforms that control a new scarce resource: the customer. Rahul Telang, Fortune, "Commentary: How the DOJ’s Attempt to Block the AT&T-Time Warner Merger Could Backfire," 16 Mar. 2018 First, should the market, on one hand, or government control, on the other, determine the distribution of scarce resources? Nan Randall, The Atlantic, "'Charlottesville': A Government-Commissioned Story About Nuclear War," 25 Jan. 2018 Funding for conservation is limited, so deciding how to allocate scarce resources is hugely important. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "When wildlife conservation meets war," 14 Jan. 2018 Why has North Korea poured so much of its scarce resources into building such a lethal arsenal? Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "North Korea Missile Test: Best Response May Be Surprisingly Low-Tech," 6 July 2017 The Arden Gateway proposal comes as housing in Sacramento is growing more scarce and prices continue to rise. Adesuwa Agbonile, sacbee, "Arden Fair may get a lot of new neighbors: Apartment complex would be among region's largest," 29 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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Phrases Related to scarce

make oneself scarce

Statistics for scarce

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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)

: almost not at all : scarcely or hardly

scarce

adjective
\ˈskers \
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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exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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