Synonyms & Antonyms of rare

3 not often occurring or repeated
  • the French pronunciation of the family's name is rare, except in Louisiana

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4 noticeably different from what is generally found or experienced
  • "Such good manners are rare these days," remarked Mrs. Denby, as the young man let her go ahead of him in line

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Frequently Asked Questions About rare

How is the word rare different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of rare are choice, dainty, delicate, elegant, and exquisite. While all these words mean "having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste," rare suggests an uncommon excellence.

rare beauty

In what contexts can choice take the place of rare?

In some situations, the words choice and rare are roughly equivalent. However, choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind.

choice fabric

When is it sensible to use dainty instead of rare?

The meanings of dainty and rare largely overlap; however, dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate.

dainty sandwiches

When could delicate be used to replace rare?

Although the words delicate and rare have much in common, delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility.

delicate craftsmanship

When can elegant be used instead of rare?

The words elegant and rare can be used in similar contexts, but elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste.

a sumptuous but elegant dining room

When might exquisite be a better fit than rare?

The words exquisite and rare are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste.

an exquisite gold bracelet

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Time Traveler for rare

Time Traveler

The first known use of rare was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rare.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rare

Dictionary: Definition of rare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rare

Spanish Central: Translation of rare

Nglish: Translation of rare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rare for Arabic Speakers

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