- 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 for scarce on Thesaurus.com
- 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 make oneself scarce
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.
Idioms and Phrases with make oneself scarce
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]
In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce
- scarce as hen's teeth
- scarcely ever
- make oneself scarce