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

Keep scrolling for more

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 good news is his velocity has ticked up a little since he's being used exclusively as a reliever, and lefties tend to get a longer leash in organizations due to their relative scarcity. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers top-10 prospect Tristen Lutz is on track again after muscle repair surgery," 5 Mar. 2020 For me, the business justification always has been obvious: women make up half the talent pool, and their scarcity in the top ranks of business is a clear sign of resources misused. David Meyer, Fortune, "How Equality Sparks Innovation," 12 Dec. 2019 Oman relies on desalination because its extreme scarcity of water leaves few other options. Ian James, azcentral, "In the Middle East, countries spend heavily to transform seawater into drinking water," 29 Nov. 2019 The trail crossed the last 7 miles (11 kilometers) of Nevada’s Forty Mile Desert, known for its sand dunes that stalled wagons and its scarcity of drinkable water. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Big Nevada industrial park could help protect historic trail," 28 Sep. 2019 To reinforce their scarcity, Amazon includes both a countdown clock and a widget showing what percentage of the deal has been claimed. Hilary George-parkin, Vox, "2019’s most fun meme, explained.," 15 July 2019 Tortoises evolved to persevere through water scarcity, Esque says. Luke Runyon, azcentral, "Climate change is making life hard for desert tortoises in the Southwest," 9 Feb. 2020 That’s especially important in arid regions, where such reserves serve as a hedge against future water scarcity. Eric Roston, Fortune, "While Most Industries Suffer Due to the Climate Crisis, Hydropower Sees Opportunities," 17 Nov. 2019 That kind of consumption is piling pressure on the Asian city state to address growing concerns about global water scarcity. Zahra Jamshed, CNN, "How Singapore is using technology to solve its water shortage," 25 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of scarcity

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for scarcity

Last Updated

24 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scarcity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scarcity


How to pronounce scarcity (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on scarcity

What made you want to look up scarcity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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