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

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 Unfortunately, in urban areas there is a scarcity of oaks. Jennifer Rude Klett, Journal Sentinel, 8 Sep. 2022 Diot notes, however, that there is still a scarcity of Asian executives at the market, as is the case at the festival even in terms of movies this year. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 30 Aug. 2022 At the end of the day, the real problem seems to be the scarcity of opportunity for higher-education success. The New Yorker, 24 May 2022 Storytelling plays a critical role in changing the manager’s mindset from one of talent scarcity to a mindset of talent abundance. Edie Goldberg, Forbes, 19 May 2022 This means that there won’t be a long-lasting scarcity of workers driven by permanent exits from the workforce. Michael R. Strain, WSJ, 27 Apr. 2022 The results are familiar to Chinese of a certain age: scarcity of supplies and mushrooming of black markets. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 There was this expectation that all entrepreneurs had to go through and pitch those firms, and there was a scarcity of capital. Jessica Mathews, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2022 Indeed, while there may be a scarcity of evidence to support routine mental health screening tools among all children, experts say there is no harm in monitoring kids for such problems. NBC News, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of scarcity

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About scarcity

Time Traveler for scarcity

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near scarcity



scarcity economics

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for scarcity

Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scarcity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for scarcity


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

More from Merriam-Webster on scarcity

Nglish: Translation of scarcity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scarcity for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scarcity


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!