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2017 Word of the Year

rarity

[rair-i-tee] /ˈrɛər ɪ ti/
noun, plural rarities.
1.
something rare, unusual, or uncommon:
Snowstorms are a rarity in the South.
2.
something esteemed or interesting in being rare, uncommon, or curious:
That folio is a rarity that will bring a good price.
3.
the state or quality of being rare.
4.
rare occurrence; infrequency:
Volcanic eruptions on the island occur with great rarity.
5.
unusual excellence.
6.
thinness, as of air or a gas.
Origin of rarity
1550-1560
1550-60; < Latin rāritās thinness, equivalent to rār(us) rare1 + -itās -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rarity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Can it be that the rarity of this virtue in England has to do with our living in a straitened island?

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Of course its rarity made it all the more impressive when it did come.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Their rarity, in my opinion, makes them more esteemed than they deserve.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • A milk-white fawn, on account of its rarity, was given him by a peasant.

    A Short History of Spain Mary Platt Parmele
  • No doubt, he was anxious to emphasise the novelty and rarity of his literary adventures.

British Dictionary definitions for rarity

rarity

/ˈrɛərɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
a rare person or thing, esp something interesting or valued because it is uncommon
2.
the state or quality of being rare
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 rarity
n.

early 15c., "thinness;" 1550s, "fewness," from Middle French rarité or directly from Latin raritas "thinness, looseness of texture; fewness," from rarus (see rare (adj.1)). Sense of "a rare thing or event" is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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9
8
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