Definition of scarce in English:

scarce

Syllabification: scarce
Pronunciation: /ske(ə)rs
 
/

adjective

  • 1(Especially of food, money, or some other resource) insufficient for the demand: as raw materials became scarce, synthetics were developed
    More example sentences
    • This was compounded by a growing competition for scarce food resources.
    • They saw their families and communities through difficult times, when money was scarce and the demands of rural life were very demanding.
    • This may be so fundamental to the business that diverting scarce resources and money into longer-term plans would be wrong.
    Synonyms
    in short supply, scant, scanty, meager, sparse, short, hard to find, hard to come by, too little, insufficient, deficient, inadequate, lacking, wanting; at a premium, paltry, negligible
    informal rare/scarce as hen's teeth, rarer/scarcer than hen's teeth, not to be had for love or money
    formal exiguous
  • 1.1Occurring in small numbers or quantities; rare: the freshwater shrimp becomes scarce in soft water
    More example sentences
    • Tatum rabbet planes are scarce to rare and this was a nice example.
    • They were the secret of that period of time. They are still fairly rare, fairly scarce.
    • In some ways it can be considered as a miniature flora of an area, highlighting the locally rare and scarce species.
    Synonyms

adverb

archaic Back to top  
  • Scarcely: a babe scarce two years old
    More example sentences
    • In recent years, the beleaguered couple have been scarce on the social scene.
    • I went to the bucket but there was scarce any left.
    • At that moment the beast-man charged the Kshatriya; Viro scarce had time to roll.

Phrases

make oneself scarce

informal Leave a place, especially so as to avoid a difficult situation.
More example sentences
  • ‘It was an empty building and a small piece of glass,’ said PC Lewis, who expected the majority of people in the same situation would have made themselves scarce.
  • Shelley and Thomas however, had made themselves scarce and gone to clear up the kitchen.
  • The boy had made himself scarce in the past week, obviously avoiding the messengers for the day.

Derivatives

scarceness

noun
More example sentences
  • This last component supposedly arose in response to the scarceness of Arabic speakers in America's armed forces and intelligence organizations.
  • The eiresione and the first-fruit sacrifice are typical signs of seasonal renewal: the first signs of coming prosperity after the scarceness of the winter period.
  • Munificence relates to the scarceness of environment resources that support firm growth in a given industry.

Origin

Middle English (in the sense 'restricted in quantity or size', also 'parsimonious'): from a shortening of Anglo-Norman escars, from a Romance word meaning 'plucked out, selected'.

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