scarce

[ skairs ]
/ skɛərs /

adjective, scarc·er, scarc·est.

insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant: Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
seldom met with; rare: a scarce book.

adverb

Idioms

    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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for make oneself scarce

scarce

/ (skɛəs) /

adjective

rarely encountered
insufficient to meet the demand
make oneself scarce informal to go away, esp suddenly

adverb

archaic, or literary scarcely
Derived Formsscarceness, noun

Word Origin for scarce

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 make oneself scarce

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 make oneself scarce (1 of 2)

make oneself scarce


Depart quickly, go away, as in The children saw Mrs. Frost coming and made themselves scarce. This idiom applies scarce in the sense of “seldom seen” to removing one's presence. [c. 1800]

Idioms and Phrases with make oneself scarce (2 of 2)

scarce


In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce

  • scarce as hen's teeth
  • scarcely ever

also see:

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