noun, plural scar·ci·ties.

insufficiency or shortness of supply; dearth.
rarity; infrequency.

Origin of scarcity

1300–50; Middle English scarsete(e) < Old North French escarsete. See scarce, -ity
Related formsnon·scar·ci·ty, noun, plural non·scar·ci·ties.

Synonyms for scarcity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scarcity

Contemporary Examples of scarcity

Historical Examples of scarcity

  • The stairs also were pulled down and burned, though there was no scarcity of firing.

  • There was both a scarcity of cash and a lack of faith in the enterprise.

  • The second reason is, That in this colony a scarcity is never to be apprehended.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • There was no scarcity of muskets and ammunition; all they had to do was stoop and pick them up.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • No scarcity of fun in Ireland—which beats the world for sparkling incident.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for scarcity


noun plural -ties

inadequate supply; dearth; paucity
rarity or infrequent occurrence
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 scarcity

c.1300, from Old North French escarcete (Old French escharsete), from eschars (see scarce).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scarcity in Culture


The basic problem on which classical economic theory is built: simply, that human wants will always exceed the resources available to fulfill those wants. This tenet was challenged by the rise of what John Kenneth Galbraith described as the affluent society.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.