scar·​ci·​ty | \ ˈsker-sə-tē How to pronounce scarcity (audio) , -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

The value of the shoes in the secondhand marketplace—the price tag on their clout—was about fifteen hundred dollars, a function of both their scarcity and their modish chunkiness. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Normcore Opulence of Preachers Wearing Four-Figure Sneakers," 14 June 2019 With plutonium scarcity making RTGs less useful, NASA needs a new source of power for its upcoming missions. John Wenz, Discover Magazine, "NASA's New Nuclear Reactor Could Change Space Exploration," 11 Feb. 2019 But the Cuban regime has had nearly six decades of experience defying the U.S., administering scarcity and dishing out repression. José De Córdoba, WSJ, "Cuba Ration Lines Grow Tense as Economy Flails," 21 June 2019 There also is a scarcity component, in that no other college conference is doing this. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Hotline Q&A on potential Pac-12 equity sale: “They feel good about what they’ve learned”," 17 June 2019 Jamie Butler, eighteen, had to leave her home and her relatives in the Navajo Nation, because of severe drought and water scarcity. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Right to a Stable Climate Is the Constitutional Question of the Twenty-first Century," 15 June 2019 In between she explores why there is so much scarcity and shame around menopause. Jane Ratcliffe, Longreads, "‘Brokenness and Holiness Really Go Together’: Darcey Steinke on Menopause," 15 June 2019 One part of the problem is easy to identify: housing scarcity. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Why Housing Policy Feels Like Generational Warfare," 13 June 2019 Still, limiting overall use may help ISPs delay capital upgrades, and the artificial scarcity created by data caps can be used by ISPs to their own financial advantage. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Google Stadia in 4K might push you past your home-Internet data cap," 12 June 2019

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

15 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce scarcity (audio) \
plural scarcities

Kids Definition of scarcity

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

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