[ skair-si-tee ]
/ ˈskɛər sɪ ti /

noun, plural scar·ci·ties.

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

Nearby words

  1. scarce,
  2. scarce as hen's teeth,
  3. scarcely,
  4. scarcely ever,
  5. scarcement,
  6. scare,
  7. scare out of one's wits,
  8. scare quotes,
  9. scare up,
  10. scarecrow

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

Examples from the Web for scarcity

British Dictionary definitions for scarcity


/ (ˈskɛəsɪtɪ) /

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

Culture definitions for scarcity


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.