Definition of sparse in English:

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Pronunciation: /spɑːs/


1Thinly dispersed or scattered: areas of sparse population
More example sentences
  • It wasn't that his sparse acne had miraculously dispersed into clear skin, or that he had suddenly buffed up overnight.
  • As we mentioned earlier, bluebirds prefer open rural areas with scattered trees and sparse ground cover.
  • If you do selective logging, or harvest sparse and scattered stands, the mobility and speed pays off.
1.1Scanty; in short supply: information on earnings is sparse
More example sentences
  • William Shakespeare's life is somewhat of a mystery to scholars due to the fact that most information that is known is very scattered and sparse.
  • A surprisingly sparse paper trail offers only scattered clues on the obscure life of William Shakespeare, one of the world's most influential dramatists.



Pronunciation: /ˈspɑːsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Not quite minimalism, but its sparseness fits the film perfectly.
  • The sparseness of the set does nothing to enhance the already emotionally Spartan feel of the play.
  • It eschews the sparseness of much fashionable sport writing and is unashamedly rich and stylish.


Example sentences
  • He told the Trade and Industry Committee: ‘One of the major problems we had in manufacturing in the UK was a real sparsity of efficient, quality subcontractors.’
  • We must recognise that rural schools by their very nature often have small numbers of pupils due to the sparsity of population in our countryside.
  • But because of the sparsity of the population here, that is not possible.


Early 18th century (used to describe writing in the sense 'widely spaced'): from Latin sparsus, past participle of spargere 'scatter'.

Words that rhyme with sparse

brass, carse, class, coup de grâce, farce, glass, grass, Grasse, impasse, Kars, kick-ass, kvass, Laplace, Maas, Madras, outclass, pass, stained glass, surpass, upper class, volte-face

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sparse

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