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sel·​dom ˈsel-dəm How to pronounce seldom (audio)
: in few instances : rarely, infrequently


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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
Secondly, many of the responses by generative AI are really guesses in a mathematical and statistical sense, but seldom does the AI indicate either an uncertainty level or a certainty level associated with a reply. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 These days, creative directors seldom stay anywhere long enough to leave a mark. Nick Haramis Ola Rindal Dogukan Nesanir, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 And several German chief executives, who seldom wade into politics, have warned about the threat right-wing extremism poses to the economy. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 10 Feb. 2024 Dion has been seldom seen in public since she was diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, in 2022. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 The city also opened a Mission Valley safe-parking lot that accepts oversized vehicles in 2019, although it was seldom used by RV owners because people had to move their vehicles out every morning. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Jan. 2024 Like his father, Jeremy tends to keep his private life off of social media, seldom posting about his relationship or his family. Francesca Gariano, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024 That’s made a difference to people like Ritchie, who before her work had seldom seen gay people portrayed in ways that didn’t focus on their sexuality. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 3 Feb. 2024 His portraits of women are seldom offered at auctions. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 26 Jan. 2024
What’s more is that Thomas had reported a $5,000 gift for Martin’s education from a non-billionaire friend—echoing Thomas’s tendency to report some gifts, but seldom ones from the likes of Crow. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 4 May 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'seldom.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adverb and Adjective

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

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near seldom

Cite this Entry

“Seldom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: not often : rarely

More from Merriam-Webster on seldom

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