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 In an effort to be a resource and make a dent in the complex issue of food scarcity, Dallas native Jasmine Coleman developed a free refrigerator concept called The People’s Fridge, which feeds North Texans in need. Dallas News, "The People’s Fridge: Dallas woman launches free refrigerator initiative to combat food insecurity," 12 Feb. 2021 Humans strain against some kind of scarcity for centuries, then finally find a way to overcome it. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, "We Broke Phosphorus," 8 Feb. 2021 Sutfin said the index helps ensure that communities at most risk receive vaccine during times of scarcity and that it was used in establishing testing sites for the coronavirus. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit to nearly triple COVID-19 vaccine capacity at TCF Center garage clinic," 29 Jan. 2021 Red Flannel Hash is one of those simple, culinary achievements born of scarcity. Beth Dooley Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Hash is a quick fix any time of day," 13 Jan. 2021 Another accidental casualty of prey scarcity is ravens. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s hard-core predators don’t have it as easy as you may think," 20 Dec. 2020 Even as health officials have moved aggressively to set up megasites that can dole out thousands of doses per day, as well as secure and train the workers needed to administer them, efforts have been stymied by a nationwide scarcity of shots. Los Angeles Times, "When’s your turn? L.A. County residents can check COVID-19 vaccine eligibility on state site," 26 Jan. 2021 Religious communities in Italy and elsewhere in Europe were already under huge strains by a scarcity of young people joining the orders. Washington Post, "Six portraits from a year defined by loss," 30 Dec. 2020 There’s a scarcity of minorities even among entry level internships. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "'It hurts:' After vowing change, Black candidates shut out again of MLB front office jobs," 16 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for scarcity

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scarcity

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scarcity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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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