sel·​dom | \ ˈsel-dəm How to pronounce seldom (audio) \

Definition of seldom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in few instances : rarely, infrequently



Definition of seldom (Entry 2 of 2)

Synonyms & Antonyms for seldom

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adverb

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Examples of seldom in a Sentence

Adverb Employers also say that foreign-born workers tend to work harder, be more reliable, and complain less than the natives they can hire at the same wage. This is not surprising. Unskilled immigrants have seldom finished secondary school, but they have overcome all kinds of obstacles both to get here and to stay here. — Christopher Jencks, New York Review of Books, 27 Sept. 2007 "The pervasive theme is rebellion." Laurel Thatcher Ulrich begins her new book, "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History," struggling to explain—understand—the appeal of an aside she made in the spring 1976 issue of an academic journal, a comment that has become a popular slogan printed on T-shirts and coffee mugs and bumper stickers, usually without her permission and often without attribution. — Kathryn Harrison, New York Times Book Review, 30 Sept. 2007 Kangaroo rats belong to a North American family of rodents well known for living in arid habitats, where they forage almost exclusively for seeds. They seldom have access to drinking water, but instead get most of their moisture from digesting the seeds. — Michael A. Mares, Natural History, November 2003 We seldom go to the movies. This type of turtle seldom grows over four inches in length.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Reaching Transnistria would require Russia to make massive gains in southern areas, where troops found initial success in the days after the start of the invasion but have largely been bogged down for weeks, making seldom and very slow advances. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Daring is a word seldom used to describe the beach resorts of the Maldives, which often share a similar design philosophy. Travel + Leisure, 12 Apr. 2022 But the public health authority, known as Title 42, is seldom used for migrants of some nationalities who are difficult to expel for financial or diplomatic reasons. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 20 Mar. 2022 Specifically, forward Chris Moore got some extended action after being seldom used during SEC play. Tom Green |, al, 5 Mar. 2022 The Chiefs lost both first-string tackles to injury, scored three points in the second half and seldom, if ever, stopped Chase, who also converted on third down via a 14-yard interference flag. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Jan. 2022 The shin-crunching action begins immediately and seldom lets up, its unyielding brutality more in line with the pre-millennium direct-to-video vibe that Benmayor nimbly rides. Charles Bramesco, Vulture, 23 June 2021 His designs are sheer genius and a tour de force seldom seen in fashion. Vogue, 25 Apr. 2022 Lee’s success story is rare in the realm of Korean American churches, where women are seldom seen in the pulpits. Deepa Bharath, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Hiring Van Bommel, in fact, was a seldom mistake by Schmadtke. Manuel Veth, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 Emergency management, which at one time was a relatively seldom occurrence, now happens almost on a monthly basis. ... Christopher Keating,, 20 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seldom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of seldom


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for seldom

Adverb and Adjective

Middle English, from Old English seldan; akin to Old High German seltan seldom

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Time Traveler for seldom

Time Traveler

The first known use of seldom was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near seldom




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Statistics for seldom

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seldom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for seldom


sel·​dom | \ ˈsel-dəm How to pronounce seldom (audio) \

Kids Definition of seldom

: not often : rarely He seldom talks about his past.

More from Merriam-Webster on seldom

Nglish: Translation of seldom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seldom for Arabic Speakers


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