- coming or occurring far apart in time; unusual; uncommon: a rare disease; His visits are rare occasions.
- thinly distributed over an area; few and widely separated: Lighthouses are rare on that part of the coast.
- having the component parts not closely compacted together; not dense: rare gases; lightheaded from the rare mountain air.
- unusually great: a rare display of courage.
- unusually excellent; admirable; fine: She showed rare tact in inviting them.
Origin of rare1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (of meat) cooked just slightly: He likes his steak rare.
Origin of rare2
Examples from the Web for rarer
Such pairs of black holes are rare, and a star drifting close enough to get shredded is rarer.Black Hole Pair Caught in Feeding Frenzy
Matthew R. Francis
April 27, 2014
If you guessed Syria, you're in a rarer group than you might realize.Learn Your Geography, Kids
April 26, 2013
And ours, rarer still: a representative republic, a country owned by the people.Obama’s Moment to Call Us to a Greater Collective Commitment
January 21, 2013
Complaints of voter fraud are rare; complaints of voter suppression are rarer still.America's Disgraceful Voting System
November 5, 2012
In rarer cases, if I may chance a misinterpreted mashup of my own, one can scratch an actress and find an actor.Ellen Barkin on 'Another Happy Day,' Sam Levinson, and Being a 'Broad'
November 16, 2011
A good boy was rarer than a good horse, and of more actual value.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
It is indeed a rarer gift than the power of understanding itself.David Elginbrod
The rarer their occurrence, the greater the significance attached to them.The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
He is exactly like the magistrates in old days, but he and his kind get rarer every year.The Cult of Incompetence
They are rarer than humanity in a Roman, or apostacy in a Jew, or truth in a Christian.Aurelian
- not widely known; not frequently used or experienced; uncommon or unusuala rare word
- occurring seldoma rare appearance
- not widely distributed; not generally occurringa rare herb
- (of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin; rarefied
- uncommonly great; extremekind to a rare degree
- exhibiting uncommon excellence; superlatively good or finerare skill
- highly valued because of its uncommonnessa rare prize
- (of meat, esp beef) very lightly cooked
Word Origin and History for rarer
"unusual," late 14c., "thin, airy, porous;" mid-15c., "few in number and widely separated, sparsely distributed, seldom found;" from Old French rere "sparse" (14c.), from Latin rarus "thinly sown, having a loose texture; not thick; having intervals between, full of empty spaces," from PIE *ra-ro-, from root *ere- "to separate; adjoin" (cf. Sanskrit rte "besides, except," viralah "distant, tight, rare;" Old Church Slavonic rediku "rare," Old Hittite arhaš "border," Lithuanian irti "to be dissolved"). "Few in number," hence, "unusual." Related: Rareness. In chemistry, rare earth is from 1818.
"undercooked," 1650s, variant of Middle English rere, from Old English hrere "lightly cooked," probably related to hreran "to stir, move, shake, agitate," from Proto-Germanic *hror- (cf. Old Frisian hrera "to stir, move," Old Saxon hrorian, Dutch roeren, German rühren, Old Norse hroera), from PIE base *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (cf. Greek kera- "to mix," krasis "mixture"). Originally of eggs, not recorded in reference to meat until 1784, and according to OED, in this sense "formerly often regarded as an Americanism, although it was current in many English dialects ...."
"rise up," 1833, dialectal variant of rear (v.). Sense of "eager" (in raring to go) first recorded 1909. Related: Rared; raring.