Definition of sparse in English:


Line breaks: sparse
Pronunciation: /spɑːs


  • 1Thinly dispersed or scattered: areas of sparse population
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    • 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.



More example sentences
  • The standard Milky Way model comprised a thin disk of bright young stars surrounded by a sparsely populated halo of old stars.
  • The ambience is nothing to write home about: just over a dozen seats in a small, sparsely decorated white room.
  • The people in the sparsely populated auditorium could be ghosts.


More 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.


More 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'.

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