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[rair-i-tee] /ˈrɛər ɪ ti/
noun, plural rarities.
something rare, unusual, or uncommon:
Snowstorms are a rarity in the South.
something esteemed or interesting in being rare, uncommon, or curious:
That folio is a rarity that will bring a good price.
the state or quality of being rare.
rare occurrence; infrequency:
Volcanic eruptions on the island occur with great rarity.
unusual excellence.
thinness, as of air or a gas.
Origin of rarity
1550-60; < Latin rāritās thinness, equivalent to rār(us) rare1 + -itās -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for rarity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is thick and black (red, being a rarity, is considered a beauty), and is braided in two long tresses.

  • The length of these prairie festivities is equaled only by their rarity.

    Lorimer of the Northwest Harold Bindloss
  • The first and most apparent was the rarity of tall buildings.

  • The reader may like a few specimens from this early edition, now a rarity.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • I do not say a "born naturalist" because I fancy we are most of us that, and yet the countryman who is a naturalist is a rarity.

    The Land's End W. H. Hudson
British Dictionary definitions for rarity


noun (pl) -ties
a rare person or thing, esp something interesting or valued because it is uncommon
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

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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