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 scarcity of double-switches, with relievers already having 21 at-bats. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Sleepless at Citi Field: Why Mickey Callaway is the latest to toss and turn managing the Mets," 18 June 2018 Prices play the key coordinating role in any market economy, signaling the relative scarcity of resources and telling entrepreneurs how to organize production in a way that creates the largest economic pie possible. Benjamin Powell, Fortune, "Commentary: Trump’s Tariffs Won’t Kill U.S. Jobs. They’ll Create the Wrong Ones.," 7 Mar. 2018 Kersch says that is due to things like the scarcity of images depicting women at work in the industry and stereotypes of male construction workers as unwelcoming to women. Amanda Abrams, Curbed, "Women are the solution to the construction industry’s labor shortage," 5 Nov. 2018 In film and television, the scarcity of women superheroes is stark. Danush Parvaneh, Vox, "How Doctor Who could change the way women are portrayed in sci-fi," 5 Oct. 2018 If the economy overheats, one or more of those resources nears its limits, scarcity drives prices up and inflation ensues. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 Market price for a CryptoKitty is determined by demand, scarcity, and an owner’s asking price. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "CryptoKitties Mobile App to Debut on HTC's Flagship Phone," 11 July 2018 The Burgundy wines of Henri Jayer are prized for their seductive expression of the French region’s pinot noir grapes, as well as their scarcity. Thomas Buckley,, "Rare Sale of Unearthed Jayer Wine Skips Christie’s, Sotheby’s," 15 June 2018 During times of scarcity, young girls are expected to assist their mothers with households chores, often resulting in girls dropping out of school. Mélissa Godin, Teen Vogue, "Climate Change Is Creating a New Atmosphere of Gender Inequality for Women in Malawi," 20 Dec. 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

8 Apr 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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