- insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant: Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
- seldom met with; rare: a scarce book.
- make oneself scarce, Informal.
- to depart, especially suddenly.
- to stay away; avoid.
Origin of scarce
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for scarcest
It is far and away the scarcest and most precious substance in the world.The Skylark of Space
Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby
The scarcest monkey in Borneo is the proboscis, or long-nosed.Borneo and the Indian Archipelago
Frank S. Marryat
Some of the scarcest books printed by Caxton were among the latter.Bibliomania; or Book-Madness
Thomas Frognall Dibdin
Ice is about the scarcest thing in England, and cannot be had at the majority of bars.Nasby in Exile
David R. Locke
This volume is said to be one of the scarcest books in the English language.Amenities of Literature
- rarely encountered
- insufficient to meet the demand
- make oneself scarce informal to go away, esp suddenly
- archaic, or literary scarcely
Word Origin and History for scarcest
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.