- coming or occurring far apart in time; unusual; uncommon: a rare disease; His visits are rare occasions.
- thinly distributed over an area; few and widely separated: Lighthouses are rare on that part of the coast.
- having the component parts not closely compacted together; not dense: rare gases; lightheaded from the rare mountain air.
- unusually great: a rare display of courage.
- unusually excellent; admirable; fine: She showed rare tact in inviting them.
Origin of rare1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for rare on Thesaurus.com
- (of meat) cooked just slightly: He likes his steak rare.
Origin of rare2
Examples from the Web for rare
Such statements are rare, as the Guards routinely avoid going public with news about the demise of one of their commanders.What an Iranian Funeral Tells Us About the Wars in Iraq
January 6, 2015
It was a rare moment of bipartisan unity in partisan Washington.Final Chapter for Accused Africa Bomber
January 4, 2015
The problem, though, is that this advice presumes that death threats are rare and abnormal.Cover-Ups and Concern Trolls: Actually, It's About Ethics in Suicide Journalism
January 3, 2015
By the time it concluded with a sing-a-long of “XO,” Beyoncé had done the rare thing.Bow Down, Bitches: How Beyoncé Turned an Elevator Brawl Into a Perfect Year
December 31, 2014
What sets him apart from so many of his contemporaries was his rare immunity from the influence of prevailing ideas.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
Yet he was a rare man, such as few meet with in the course of a lifetime.Biographical Sketches
Mary was standing rigid now, and the rare color flamed in her cheeks.Within the Law
Kisses were rare in the staid little household to which she belonged.
In his fight with Cloten he is depicted as a rare swordsman of wonderful magnanimity.The Man Shakespeare
Sidney was experiencing the rare treat of after-dinner coffee.
- not widely known; not frequently used or experienced; uncommon or unusuala rare word
- occurring seldoma rare appearance
- not widely distributed; not generally occurringa rare herb
- (of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin; rarefied
- uncommonly great; extremekind to a rare degree
- exhibiting uncommon excellence; superlatively good or finerare skill
- highly valued because of its uncommonnessa rare prize
- (of meat, esp beef) very lightly cooked
Word Origin and History for rare
"unusual," late 14c., "thin, airy, porous;" mid-15c., "few in number and widely separated, sparsely distributed, seldom found;" from Old French rere "sparse" (14c.), from Latin rarus "thinly sown, having a loose texture; not thick; having intervals between, full of empty spaces," from PIE *ra-ro-, from root *ere- "to separate; adjoin" (cf. Sanskrit rte "besides, except," viralah "distant, tight, rare;" Old Church Slavonic rediku "rare," Old Hittite arhaš "border," Lithuanian irti "to be dissolved"). "Few in number," hence, "unusual." Related: Rareness. In chemistry, rare earth is from 1818.
"undercooked," 1650s, variant of Middle English rere, from Old English hrere "lightly cooked," probably related to hreran "to stir, move, shake, agitate," from Proto-Germanic *hror- (cf. Old Frisian hrera "to stir, move," Old Saxon hrorian, Dutch roeren, German rühren, Old Norse hroera), from PIE base *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (cf. Greek kera- "to mix," krasis "mixture"). Originally of eggs, not recorded in reference to meat until 1784, and according to OED, in this sense "formerly often regarded as an Americanism, although it was current in many English dialects ...."
"rise up," 1833, dialectal variant of rear (v.). Sense of "eager" (in raring to go) first recorded 1909. Related: Rared; raring.