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scarce

[skairs]
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adjective, scarc·er, scarc·est.
  1. insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant: Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
  2. seldom met with; rare: a scarce book.
adverb
  1. scarcely.
Idioms
  1. 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 formsscarce·ness, nounun·scarce, adjectiveun·scarce·ly, adverbun·scarce·ness, noun
Can be confusedextinct rare scarce

Synonyms

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1. deficient. 2. uncommon, infrequent.

Antonyms

1. abundant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scarcer

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But man-of-war's men are scarcer, my friends, than hen's teeth!

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • The otters were scarcer than the beavers, but were hunted much in the same manner.

  • In a few months, good liquor will be scarcer than an electric blanket in hell.

    Revenge

    Arthur Porges

  • Work was growing scarcer and scarcer as the winter advanced.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • But along above here they began to get fish, as the game got scarcer.


British Dictionary definitions for scarcer

scarce

adjective
  1. rarely encountered
  2. insufficient to meet the demand
  3. make oneself scarce informal to go away, esp suddenly
adverb
  1. archaic, or literary scarcely
Derived Formsscarceness, 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

Word Origin and History for scarcer

scarce

adj.

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

Idioms and Phrases with scarcer

scarce

In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.