scarce

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Synonym Chooser

How is the word scarce distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of scarce are infrequent, rare, sporadic, and uncommon. While all these words mean "not common or abundant," scarce implies falling short of a standard or required abundance.

jobs were scarce during the Depression

When might infrequent be a better fit than scarce?

In some situations, the words infrequent and scarce are roughly equivalent. However, infrequent implies occurrence at wide intervals in space or time.

infrequent family visits

In what contexts can rare take the place of scarce?

The meanings of rare and scarce largely overlap; however, rare suggests extreme scarcity or infrequency and often implies consequent high value.

rare first editions

When is it sensible to use sporadic instead of scarce?

While the synonyms sporadic and scarce are close in meaning, sporadic implies occurrence in scattered instances or isolated outbursts.

sporadic cases of influenza

When would uncommon be a good substitute for scarce?

While in some cases nearly identical to scarce, uncommon suggests a frequency below normal expectation.

smallpox is now uncommon in many countries

Thesaurus Entries Near scarce

Cite this Entry

“Scarce.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/scarce. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

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