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 sparse (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 As far as first aid supplies go, the Traveler is relatively sparse. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, 5 May 2021 But when the evening arrived, attendance was visibly sparse, thanks in part to that movement organized on TikTok by anti-Trump users registering for tickets without any intention of going. Abram Brown, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Polling on the issue is rather sparse and is non-existent in Alabama. al, 3 May 2021 Funding through France’s public investment bank (BPI) and tax rebates can be generous in the early stages of business development, but private funding is too sparse to enable enough companies to grow significantly at later stages. Tania Rabesandratana, Science | AAAS, 21 Apr. 2021 But sometimes that front line of fighters is relatively sparse. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 19 Mar. 2021 Trailheads that were once sparse are teeming with visitors. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2021 While initial details were sparse, the outlet also shared that the injury was serious enough for Nick to go to a nearby hospital in an ambulance. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 18 May 2021 Much of it has to do the return on investment for building out internet service in areas where population levels are sparse. Dwight Silverman, Forbes, 11 May 2021

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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sparse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sparse. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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