[ rair-uh-fahyd ]
/ ˈrɛər əˌfaɪd /


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

First recorded in 1625–35; rarefy + -ed2

Related forms

ul·tra·rar·e·fied, adjectiveun·rar·e·fied, adjective

Definition for rarefied (2 of 2)


[ rair-uh-fahy ]
/ ˈrɛər əˌfaɪ /

verb (used with object), rar·e·fied, rar·e·fy·ing.

to make rare or rarer; make less dense: to rarefy a gas.
to make more refined, spiritual, or exalted.

verb (used without object), rar·e·fied, rar·e·fy·ing.

to become rare or less dense; become thinned: Moisture rarefies when heated.

Origin of rarefy

1350–1400; Middle English rarefien < Middle French rarefier < Latin rārēfacere, equivalent to rārē-, combining form of rārus rare1 (for expected rāri-; orig. of -ē- unclear) + facere to make; see -fy

Related forms

rar·e·fi·a·ble, adjectiverar·e·fi·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rarefied

British Dictionary definitions for rarefied (1 of 2)


/ (ˈrɛərɪˌfaɪd) /


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

British Dictionary definitions for rarefied (2 of 2)


/ (ˈrɛərɪˌfaɪ) /

verb -fies, -fying or -fied

to make or become rarer or less dense; thin out

Derived Forms

rarefiable, adjectiverarefier, noun

Word Origin for rarefy

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