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 state governments' advice to those under 40 is based on British government guidelines, while the new federal government's position acknowledges the scarcity of the Pfizer vaccine and an urgent need to accelerate a slow national rollout. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, 30 June 2021 Luxury brands must maintain an image of scarcity and exclusivity while still committing to bulk fabric orders, leading to an accumulation of unused material. Hbs Working Knowledge, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Values in the card trade, with prices spiking dramatically since the start of the pandemic, are typically determined mainly by scarcity and condition — as well as whims of the market., 28 May 2021 Stellantis NV, which owns the Jeep and Ram brands, has warned that disruptions caused by the chip scarcity could last into 2022. Nora Naughton, WSJ, 27 May 2021 The pandemic disproportionately impacted students living in poverty whose families sometimes had to grapple with unemployment, food scarcity and housing insecurity on top of finding an acceptable learning environment. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, 17 May 2021 As a lot of our folks lost their jobs, food scarcity and inequity [became] extremely rampant in my neighborhood. Natalie Gontcharova,, 6 May 2021 Luxury brands compete on scarcity, and in higher education this means selectivity. Ron Lieber, Town & Country, 23 Feb. 2021 Way said another reason for optimism is that the bowling alleys on local military bases are mostly shielded from the pressures of market forces and land scarcity. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2021

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

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scarcity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 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

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


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