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rarity

[rair-i-tee]
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noun, plural rar·i·ties.
  1. something rare, unusual, or uncommon: Snowstorms are a rarity in the South.
  2. something esteemed or interesting in being rare, uncommon, or curious: That folio is a rarity that will bring a good price.
  3. the state or quality of being rare.
  4. rare occurrence; infrequency: Volcanic eruptions on the island occur with great rarity.
  5. unusual excellence.
  6. thinness, as of air or a gas.
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Origin of rarity

1550–60; < Latin rāritās thinness, equivalent to rār(us) rare1 + -itās -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

scarcity, oddity, anomaly, exception, irregularity, treasure, curio, gem, curiosity, wonder, antique

Examples from the Web for rarity

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Can it be that the rarity of this virtue in England has to do with our living in a straitened island?

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Of course its rarity made it all the more impressive when it did come.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Their rarity, in my opinion, makes them more esteemed than they deserve.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • A milk-white fawn, on account of its rarity, was given him by a peasant.

    A Short History of Spain

    Mary Platt Parmele

  • No doubt, he was anxious to emphasise the novelty and rarity of his literary adventures.


British Dictionary definitions for rarity

rarity

noun plural -ties
  1. a rare person or thing, esp something interesting or valued because it is uncommon
  2. the state or quality of being rare
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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 rarity

n.

early 15c., "thinness;" 1550s, "fewness," from Middle French rarité or directly from Latin raritas "thinness, looseness of texture; fewness," from rarus (see rare (adj.1)). Sense of "a rare thing or event" is from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper