- 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 rarest
Old age is the saddest and rarest way to go; I witnessed it only once.A Million Ways to Die in Prison
December 8, 2014
Not only, in the rarest of cases, where there a female lead in a blockbuster action movie, but the damsel in distress was a dude.Team Peeta or Team Gale: Why the ‘Hunger Games’ Love Triangle Ruins ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’
November 28, 2014
This one features no red carpet, no paparazzi and, only in the rarest of circumstances, a celebrity.Backstage at the Razzie Awards, Honoring Hollywood’s Worst Films
March 2, 2014
George H.W. Bush was that rarest of rarities: a genuinely modest man in the office of the presidency.David Frum on How George H.W. Bush Was a Man of Greatness in Modesty
October 8, 2013
In my book it certainly qualifies as a “rarest of the rare” kind of crime.When India Wants the Rapists Hanged
September 12, 2013
The effect of it was like a draught of rarest wine to warm her heart.Within the Law
The walls were hung in old tapestries, the furniture was of the rarest.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
Jacques patronizing the fool, is one of the rarest shows of self-ignorance.A Dish Of Orts
His experiences were most interesting in obtaining some of the rarest specimens.How the Piano Came to Be
Ellye Howell Glover
He is the skilled person who makes them, and of all skilled workmen he is the rarest.Cratylus
- 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 rarest
"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.