- insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant: Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
- seldom met with; rare: a scarce book.
- make oneself scarce, Informal.
- to depart, especially suddenly.
- to stay away; avoid.
Origin of scarce
SynonymsSee more synonyms for scarce on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for scarcer
Geological reality, not Waxman-Markey, is what is making energy “scarcer and more expensive.”Palin vs. the Planet
July 17, 2009
But man-of-war's men are scarcer, my friends, than hen's teeth!The Long Roll
The otters were scarcer than the beavers, but were hunted much in the same manner.The Hunters of the Ozark
Edward S. Ellis
In a few months, good liquor will be scarcer than an electric blanket in hell.Revenge
Work was growing scarcer and scarcer as the winter advanced.The Toilers of the Field
But along above here they began to get fish, as the game got scarcer.The Young Alaskans on the Missouri
- rarely encountered
- insufficient to meet the demand
- make oneself scarce informal to go away, esp suddenly
- archaic, or literary scarcely
Word Origin and History for scarcer
c.1300, "restricted in quantity," from Old North French scars "scanty, scarce" (Old French eschars, Modern French échars) from Vulgar Latin *scarsus, from *escarpsus, from *excarpere "pluck out," from classical Latin excerpere "pluck out" (see excerpt). As an adverb early 14c. from the adjective. Phrase to make oneself scarce "go away" first attested 1771, noted as a current "cant phrase." Related: Scarcely.
Idioms and Phrases with scarcer
In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce
- scarce as hen's teeth
- scarcely ever
- make oneself scarce