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[skairs] /skɛərs/
adjective, scarcer, scarcest.
insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant:
Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
seldom met with; rare:
a scarce book.
make oneself scarce, Informal.
  1. to depart, especially suddenly.
  2. to stay away; avoid.
Origin of scarce
1250-1300; Middle English scars < Old North French (e)scars < Vulgar Latin *excarpsus plucked out, for Latin excerptus; see excerpt
Related forms
scarceness, noun
unscarce, adjective
unscarcely, adverb
unscarceness, noun
Can be confused
extinct, rare, scarce.
1. deficient. 2. uncommon, infrequent.
1. abundant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for make oneself scarce
Historical Examples
  • Make tracks, an Americanism synonymous with skedaddle; to make oneself scarce.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
British Dictionary definitions for make oneself scarce


rarely encountered
insufficient to meet the demand
(informal) make oneself scarce, to go away, esp suddenly
(archaic or literary) scarcely
Derived Forms
scarceness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norman French scars, from Vulgar Latin excarpsus (unattested) plucked out, from Latin excerpere to select; see excerpt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for make oneself scarce



c.1300, "restricted in quantity," from Old North French scars "scanty, scarce" (Old French eschars, Modern French échars) from Vulgar Latin *scarsus, from *escarpsus, from *excarpere "pluck out," from classical Latin excerpere "pluck out" (see excerpt). As an adverb early 14c. from the adjective. Phrase to make oneself scarce "go away" first attested 1771, noted as a current "cant phrase." Related: Scarcely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for make oneself scarce

make oneself scarce

verb phrase

To depart, esp hastily and under threat; bug out, skedaddle: Yonder comes the law; we better make ourselves scarce (1749+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with make oneself scarce

make oneself scarce

Depart quickly, go away, as in The children saw Mrs. Frost coming and made themselves scarce. This idiom applies scarce in the sense of “seldom seen” to removing one's presence. [ c. 1800 ]


In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce also see: make oneself scarce
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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