- thinly scattered or distributed: a sparse population.
- not thick or dense; thin: sparse hair.
- scanty; meager.
Origin of sparse
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sparse on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sparsity
The police were palpably disappointed at the sparsity of my knowledge respecting her.Tales of Chinatown
I have seen several houses furnished entirely by William Morris, and the first thing that impressed me was the sparsity of things.
What was most extraordinary was the sparsity and lowness of the trees and bushes, the fineness of the growth.The Sea and the Jungle
H. M. Tomlinson
One of the prime difficulties is in the sparsity and uneven distribution of the cow population.Railroads: Rates and Regulations
William Z. Ripley
The sparsity of the population, the extent of the country, and its poverty, made a royal establishment impossible.
- scattered or scanty; not dense
Word Origin and History for sparsity
1727, from Latin sparsus "scattered," past participle of spargere "to scatter, spread," from PIE root *(s)pregh- "to jerk, scatter" (cf. Sanskrit parjanya- "rain, rain god," Avestan fra-sparega "branch, twig," literally "that which is jerked off a tree," Old Norse freknur "freckles," Swedish dialectal sprygg "brisk, active," Lithuanian sprogti "shoot, bud," Old Irish arg "a drop").