- extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted: the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.
- of, belonging to, or appealing to an exclusive group; select; esoteric: rarefied tastes.
Origin of rarefied
- to make rare or rarer; make less dense: to rarefy a gas.
- to make more refined, spiritual, or exalted.
- to become rare or less dense; become thinned: Moisture rarefies when heated.
Origin of rarefy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rarefied
These subtleties are easily missed from the national perspective and, apparently, inside the rarefied air of the NRCC.Mark Sanford Ditched by NRCC, but Counting Him Out Would Be Unwise
April 18, 2013
St. Peter Damian damned her for “excessive delicacy” in preferring such a rarefied implement to her God-given hands.The Strange Way We Eat: Bee Wilson’s ‘Consider the Fork’
October 13, 2012
She is not some rarefied doyenne whose choices carry moral clout.Kate's Controversial Gown
July 2, 2011
With that single gesture, he put a human face on this rarefied brand, one that last year boasted €826 million in revenue.Galliano Erased at Christian Dior
March 7, 2011
Birmingham, after all, seems an unlikely breeding ground for so rarefied a creature as the author of In Patagonia.The Enigmatic Nomad
Kirk Davis Swinehart
February 26, 2011
Science has told you that at such an altitude the air is rarefied.Marion's Faith.
It appears to respire as easily in the most rarefied air as on the seashore.The Western World
But I will not press this view, which may be too rarefied and lofty for the vulgar mind.A Pessimist
The birds had long abandoned us, for in that rarefied air they could not have flown.A Winter Amid the Ice
They were intoxicated with rarefied atmosphere, not with alcohol.The Rocky Mountain Wonderland
Enos A. Mills
- exalted in nature or character; loftya rarefied spiritual existence
- current within only a small group; esoteric or exclusive
- (of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin
- to make or become rarer or less dense; thin out
C14: from Old French raréfier, from Latin rārēfacere, from rārus rare 1 + facere to make
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 rarefied
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper