scar·ci·ty | \ˈsker-sə-tē, -stē\
plural scarcities

Definition of scarcity 

: the quality or state of being scarce especially : want of provisions for the support of life

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Examples of scarcity in a Sentence

Scarcity of food forced the herds to move. the scarcity of good restaurants around here is surprising

Recent Examples on the Web

To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here A scarcity of storms this year, combined with a five-inch rain deficit from 2017, has produced abnormally dry conditions in the area. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "Rain to come after long dry spell, but will it be enough to stop a drought?," 14 June 2018 The former store now provides 60 beds, hot meals and showers for families and for single men and women who are having trouble finding a place to live in a city with a scarcity of affordable housing. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "A Macy’s Goes From Mall Mainstay to Homeless Shelter," 13 June 2018 There’s generally a scarcity of second-hand components for the A380, making pieces like landing gear, flaps and engines more valuable, Gehling said. Tom Lavell,, "Two Unwanted A380s Are Moving Closer to the Scrapheap," 5 June 2018 Data also show identical levels of trauma and its lifelong afflictions in suburbs and rural areas, which also have a scarcity of trauma-responsive social workers. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Help wanted: Trauma-focused social workers to stop downward spiral in Milwaukee," 4 June 2018 But anyone who was appalled at her anti-gay campaigning back in the 1970s might appreciate the irony of that line about a scarcity of sweetness. James Hebert,, "'Loneliest Girl' squeezes insight and wit from story of Anita Bryant," 4 June 2018 This and many other questions about the creatures are challenging to answer thanks to a scarcity of fossil evidence. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Why Did Most Massive Bony Fish Behemoths Die Out?," 4 June 2018 Still, the apparent compost heist aggravated a scarcity of compost that has irked green thumbs around Boise since the program began last year. Sven Berg, idahostatesman, "Someone apparently stole compost from a Boise pickup site. No kidding. | Idaho Statesman," 23 May 2018 Maryland families find themselves on the streets because of low wages and a scarcity of affordable homes. Tim Prudente,, "Kaiser Permanente pledges $200 million for U.S. affordable housing; Baltimore is eligible," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scarcity.' 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 scarcity

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for scarcity

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for scarcity

The first known use of scarcity was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for scarcity



English Language Learners Definition of scarcity

: a very small supply : the state of being scarce


scar·ci·ty | \ˈsker-sə-tē \
plural scarcities

Kids Definition of scarcity

: a very small supply : the condition of being scarce a scarcity of water

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Comments on scarcity

What made you want to look up scarcity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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