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

The quake caused damage to a U.S. weapons testing facility outside Ridgecrest, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, although details were sparse early Saturday. latimes.com, "For Ridgecrest, the ‘earthquake capital of the world,’ temblors shake but don’t break," 7 July 2019 The quake caused further damage to a U.S. weapons testing facility outside Ridgecrest, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, although details were sparse early Saturday. Anchorage Daily News, "No deaths reported in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Southern California," 6 July 2019 But Verizon's 5G home Internet is in just four cities and its coverage in those cities is sparse. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Google Stadia exec isn’t worried about data caps—but he probably should be," 1 July 2019 Some California communities have won federal and state grants to pay to bring older homes up to current codes, but the money is sparse. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can California avoid a third year of fire catastrophe? Here’s what’s been fixed — and what hasn’t," 20 June 2019 The sparse playing time made the All-Star game fade from La Stella’s mind. Maria Torres, latimes.com, "Tommy La Stella’s numbers ‘out of nowhere’ spark All-Star ballot love," 10 June 2019 Paleontologist Cheng-Hsiu Tsai of the National Taiwan University described the sparse remains of what was likely the second-largest fossil whale found so far, a fin whale from California. National Geographic, "Fossil of 85-foot blue whale is largest ever discovered," 30 Apr. 2019 For decades, that was the crux of the problem: Kimura had proposed neutral theory at a time before inexpensive sequencing technology and the polymerase chain reaction became available, when gene sequence data were sparse. Quanta Magazine, "Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is," 8 Nov. 2018 The uncertain weather took a huge toll on the crowd, which was very sparse under still overcast skies. Hank Kurz Jr, The Seattle Times, "Harvick wins pole at Richmond Raceway," 12 Apr. 2019

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

10 Jul 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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