sel·dom | \ ˈsel-dəm \

Definition of seldom 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: in few instances : rarely, infrequently



Definition of seldom (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for seldom

Synonyms: Adverb

infrequently, little, rarely

Antonyms: Adverb

frequently, oft, often, oftentimes (or ofttimes)

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Examples of seldom in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Their parents seldom spoke of Munich, St. Ottilien or the years prior. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 But the next part of Holaday’s routine is something Realmuto seldom has to worry about: catching bullpen sessions around 2:45. Matthew Defranks,, "Inside the thankless yet essential routine of Marlins backup catcher Bryan Holaday," 10 July 2018 Those living in tenements seldom have access to bank loans and often lack the means to make mortgage payments. Rina Chandran, The Christian Science Monitor, "Slum dwellers in the Philippines build homes through community programs," 7 June 2018 Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee seldom have anything interesting to say. Andrew Klavan, WSJ, "A Tale of Two Indecencies Shows How We Got Trump," 4 June 2018 Marriotts Ridge girls lacrosse freely passed the ball around the perimeter in the first half against Glenelg, yet the Mustangs seldom had a clean look at the net. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Glenelg girls lacrosse hands Marriotts Ridge first loss," 14 Apr. 2018 That hapless little Olympic seldom-do-well, the United States, which was a dour 2-4 in round-robin play as of Sunday night, will ride its 5-3 semifinal upset of Canada on Thursday night into the first American appearance in any gold medal tussle. Chuck Culpepper, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. men’s curling hits new heights with upset of Canada," 22 Feb. 2018 Despite his dozen years in the House, Price also was regarded as aloof by lawmakers, ignoring some of their questions of HHS and seldom making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Amy Goldstein And Mark Berman,, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price's air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 Judges seldom seal a tenant's name, doing so only if the tenant can prove a flaw in the eviction, such as a lack of service or the rent really was paid. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018

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.

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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


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


see seldom entry 1

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Phrases Related to seldom

rarely/seldom ever

rarely/seldom if ever

Statistics for seldom

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for seldom

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

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More Definitions for seldom



English Language Learners Definition of seldom

: not often : almost never


sel·dom | \ ˈsel-dəm \

Kids Definition of seldom

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

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