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

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

In Japan, where foreign executives are scarce and even the biggest corporate bigwigs tend to keep a low profile, Ghosn’s status is more ambiguous. Elaine Ganley, The Seattle Times, "Renault board: Ghosn to remain CEO while detained in Japan," 19 Nov. 2018 Fiberglass is becoming scarce and there are few, if any, working wood vessels. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "At Bristol Bay, there’s a changing of the guard at the boatyard," 7 July 2018 But here’s the reality: Tax credits are scarce and less valuable than previously, and Adare’s 134 units cost $213,000 each. Jerry Brady, idahostatesman, "Amid growth, our futile search for the $100,000 house," 27 June 2018 Supplies that are being passed out are scarce and not being distributed all over. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Fears of oil shortage hang over OPEC meeting," 22 June 2018 When sugar was scarce and pennies low, maple syrup and even molasses made delightful eating, added to apples which were topped with a crunchy, flaky crust. Hannah Giorgis, Bon Appetit, "How Freda DeKnight’s Cookbook, ‘A Date with a Dish’ Inspired Generations of Black Cooks," 19 June 2018 In the film, Tank Girl, aka Rebecca Buck, played by Lori Petty, fights oppression in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where water is scarce and harassment and violence against women and girls is prevalent. Liz Ohanesian, Los Angeles Magazine, "How Tank Girl Went From Box Office Bomb to Cult Classic," 14 June 2018 Barricades set up by protesters block highways, public transportation is scarce and business in some parts of the country has ground to a halt. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Amid worsening violence, Nicaraguans say crisis has reached 'catastrophic' proportions," 5 June 2018 In American cities, where public transport is often scarce and connections are slow, having the money for an extra tank of fuel, or even a lease on a cheap car, might save new parents tens of hours every week. The Economist, "Does growing up poor harm brain development?," 3 May 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

11 Jan 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)

: 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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