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[skair-si-tee] /ˈskɛər sɪ ti/
noun, plural scarcities.
insufficiency or shortness of supply; dearth.
rarity; infrequency.
Origin of scarcity
1300-50; Middle English scarsete(e) < Old North French escarsete. See scarce, -ity
Related forms
nonscarcity, noun, plural nonscarcities.
1. shortage, want, lack, paucity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scarcity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The stairs also were pulled down and burned, though there was no scarcity of firing.

  • There was both a scarcity of cash and a lack of faith in the enterprise.

  • The second reason is, That in this colony a scarcity is never to be apprehended.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • There was no scarcity of muskets and ammunition; all they had to do was stoop and pick them up.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • No scarcity of fun in Ireland—which beats the world for sparkling incident.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
British Dictionary definitions for scarcity


noun (pl) -ties
inadequate supply; dearth; paucity
rarity or infrequent occurrence
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 scarcity

c.1300, from Old North French escarcete (Old French escharsete), from eschars (see scarce).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scarcity in Culture

scarcity definition

The basic problem on which classical economic theory is built: simply, that human wants will always exceed the resources available to fulfill those wants. This tenet was challenged by the rise of what John Kenneth Galbraith described as the affluent society.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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