1

scarce

play
adjective \ˈskers\

Definition of scarce

scarcer

scarcest

  1. 1 :  deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand :  not plentiful or abundant

  2. 2 :  intentionally absent <made himself scarce at inspection time>

scarceness

noun

Examples of scarce in a sentence

  1. Food was getting scarce during the drought.

  2. <food was a bit scarce last winter>

Origin and Etymology of scarce

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


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of scarce

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>.

2

scarce

adverb

Definition of scarce

  1. :  scarcely, hardly <scarce was independence half a century old, when a…split occurred — John McPhee>

Examples of scarce in a sentence

  1. I could scarce believe what I was hearing.

15th Century

First Known Use of scarce

15th century



SCARCE Defined for English Language Learners

1

scarce

play
adjective \ˈskers\

Definition of scarce for English Language Learners

  • : very small in amount or number : not plentiful


2

scarce

adverb

Definition of scarce for English Language Learners

  • : almost not at all : scarcely or hardly


SCARCE Defined for Kids

1

scarce

play
adjective \ˈskers\

Definition of scarce for Students

scarcer

scarcest

  1. :  not plentiful <Food was scarce during the war.>


2

scarce

play
adverb

Definition of scarce for Students

  1. :  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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