sparse

adjective
\ˈspärs \
sparser; sparsest

Definition of sparse 

: of few and scattered elements especially : not thickly grown or settled

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Other Words from sparse

sparsely adverb
sparseness noun
sparsity \ˈspär-​sə-​tē, -​stē \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sparse

meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency. a meager portion of meat scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent. supplies too scanty to last the winter scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential. in January the daylight hours are scant skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency. tacky housing developments on skimpy lots spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity. a spare, concise style of writing sparse implies a thin scattering of units. a sparse population

Examples of sparse in a Sentence

open land is sparse around here

Recent Examples on the Web

Movies don’t need to be as sparse as the original Predator, but this version seems to pad on storylines just for the sake of having them, all cut together in a surprisingly inelegant way. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Predator could have been the franchise’s chance to finally have an identity," 8 Sep. 2018 But both its size and sparse crowds—just 470,000 annual skier visits, about one-third of Vail’s and one-half of Jackson Hole’s—means lift lines are rare. Candace Jackson, WSJ, "A Secluded Ski Destination Gets a Luxury Home Lift," 1 Nov. 2018 But what really stands out among the sparse production is Lauren's soaring voice — the girl can sing. Dan Barna, Teen Vogue, "Lauren Jauregui Debuts Video for "Expectations," Her First Solo Single," 24 Oct. 2018 Yet a room too sparse or styled can seem cold or contrived. Lisa Marie Hart, USA TODAY, "Take a fresh approach to updating your entire house," 25 Mar. 2018 Chairman Vivek Ranadive addressed the sparse crowd after the game with words of sympathy for Clark and the protesters. Ryan Sabalow, Jason Jones, Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler And Ed Fletcher, sacbee, "Police work on plan to get fans safely into Thursday's Kings game. Will they show up?," 29 Mar. 2018 My beautiful brows were looking, let’s say, sparse. Jane Chertoff, SELF, "This Is Why Your Eyebrows Are Thinner Than They Used to Be—and What to Do About It," 13 July 2018 Khan gives it more of a biting edge with sparse bass rumbles and wild textures. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Diplo Drops 'California' Remix Package, Valentino Khan Reworks 'Deadpool 2' Single," 29 June 2018 This simple step will help even the sparsest fringe look instantly fuller by filling in the gaps between your lashes. Devon Abelman, Allure, "The 11 Best Volumizing Mascaras that Are Basically Lash Extensions in a Tube," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sparse.' 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 sparse

1753, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sparse

Latin sparsus spread out, from past participle of spargere to scatter — more at spark

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Statistics for sparse

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sparse

The first known use of sparse was in 1753

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More Definitions for sparse

sparse

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sparse

: present only in small amounts : less than necessary or normal; especially : thinly covering an area : not thick or full

sparse

adjective
\ˈspärs \
sparser; sparsest

Kids Definition of sparse

: not thickly grown or settled a sparse beard

Other Words from sparse

sparsely adverb a sparsely populated village

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More from Merriam-Webster on sparse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sparse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sparse

Spanish Central: Translation of sparse

Nglish: Translation of sparse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sparse for Arabic Speakers

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