Synonym Chooser

How is the word uncommon distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of uncommon are infrequent, rare, scarce, and sporadic. While all these words mean "not common or abundant," uncommon suggests a frequency below normal expectation.

smallpox is now uncommon in many countries

When could infrequent be used to replace uncommon?

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

infrequent family visits

When would rare be a good substitute for uncommon?

The words rare and uncommon are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, rare suggests extreme scarcity or infrequency and often implies consequent high value.

rare first editions

When is it sensible to use scarce instead of uncommon?

While in some cases nearly identical to uncommon, scarce implies falling short of a standard or required abundance.

jobs were scarce during the Depression

In what contexts can sporadic take the place of uncommon?

The words sporadic and uncommon can be used in similar contexts, but sporadic implies occurrence in scattered instances or isolated outbursts.

sporadic cases of influenza

Thesaurus Entries Near uncommon

Cite this Entry

“Uncommon.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on uncommon

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!