sparse

adjective
\ ˈspärs How to pronounce sparse (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sparsity (audio) , -​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

Over most of those 17 years, Mr. Carll’s vocal phrasing would often bend in surprising, quirky ways, and his accompaniment varied from sparse folky picking to raucous rock. Barry Mazor, WSJ, "‘What It Is’ by Hayes Carll Review: A New Direction, Yet Again," 12 Feb. 2019 Most of the furniture—an intentionally sparse collection of wooden and woven items with simple lines—was purchased or handmade in Uruguay. Paola Singer, ELLE Decor, "In an Expat Enclave of Rural Uruguay, a Couple Finds Tranquility at Home," 1 Dec. 2018 The song begins with a bustling horn section and soft chimes before switching to a smooth beat and sparse piano. Hannah Steinkopf-frank, RedEye Chicago, "Sen Morimoto gets moody with his saxophone," 11 July 2018 Many parents have reportedly received sparse information from officials about how to get in touch with their children later; many of the children are toddlers and babies. Catherine Ho, SFChronicle.com, "23andMe’s DNA-kit offer for reuniting migrant families raises privacy concerns," 22 June 2018 Unless a new wave of playmakers emerges to assist quarterback K.J. Costello, points could be sparse. Jon Wilner Pac-12 Hotline, The Seattle Times, "Way-too-early Pac-12 football predictions: Can Washington rule the North once again?," 23 Jan. 2019 Research on estrangement is sparse, but a 2015 Stand Alone-Cambridge study found emotional abuse, clashes of personality and values, and mismatched expectations about family roles and the relationship are common contributing factors. Ashley Edwards Walker, Good Housekeeping, "Modern Estrangement: What Does It Mean to Be Estranged, Anyway?," 21 Dec. 2018 Sprinkle the fibers onto sparse areas of your hair and voila—an instantaneous transformation. Jaime Osnato, SELF, "10 Styling Hacks to Create Thicker-Looking Hair," 5 Jan. 2019 Using light, upward motions, create faux hair strokes in any sparse areas. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "How To Get Perfect Eyebrows," 26 Mar. 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

20 Feb 2019

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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 How to pronounce sparse (audio) \
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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