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90s Slang You Should Know


[rair-uh-fahyd] /ˈrɛər əˌfaɪd/
extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted:
the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.
of, belonging to, or appealing to an exclusive group; select; esoteric:
rarefied tastes.
Origin of rarefied
First recorded in 1625-35; rarefy + -ed2
Related forms
ultrararefied, adjective
unrarefied, adjective


[rair-uh-fahy] /ˈrɛər əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), rarefied, rarefying.
to make rare or rarer; make less dense:
to rarefy a gas.
to make more refined, spiritual, or exalted.
verb (used without object), rarefied, rarefying.
to become rare or less dense; become thinned:
Moisture rarefies when heated.
1350-1400; Middle English rarefien < Middle French rarefier < Latin rārēfacere, equivalent to rārē-, combining form of rārus rare1 (for expected rāri-; orig. of -ē- unclear) + facere to make; see -fy
Related forms
rarefiable, adjective
rarefier, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rarefied
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The birds had long abandoned us, for in that rarefied air they could not have flown.

    A Winter Amid the Ice Jules Verne
  • It appears to respire as easily in the most rarefied air as on the seashore.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • But they soon became used to the rarefied atmosphere, and then Mr. Glassford tilted the rudder still more.

  • But I will not press this view, which may be too rarefied and lofty for the vulgar mind.

    A Pessimist Robert Timsol
  • And you will please bear in mind that as yet I am but setting forth, from this rarefied atmosphere, upon my invidious mission.

    No Hero E.W. Hornung
British Dictionary definitions for rarefied


exalted in nature or character; lofty: a rarefied spiritual existence
current within only a small group; esoteric or exclusive
(of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
to make or become rarer or less dense; thin out
Derived Forms
rarefiable, adjective
rarefier, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French raréfier, from Latin rārēfacere, from rārusrare1 + facere to make
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 rarefied



late 14c., from Old French rarefier (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin rarificare, from Latin rarefacere "make rare," from rarus "rare, thin" (see rare (adj.1)) + facere "to make" (see factitious). Related: Rarefied.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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