- The definition of scarce is a situation where there is too little of something or where something exists only in very small numbers.
- An example of scarce is money when you are poor.
- An example of scarce are dishes from a china pattern that was discontinued years ago.
Water is scarce in this desert.
- not common; rarely seen
- not plentiful; not sufficient to meet the demand; hard to get
Origin of scarceMiddle English scars ; from Norman French escars (for Old French eschars) ; from Vulgar Latin an unverified form escarpsus, for Classical Latin excerptus, past participle of excerpere, to pick out, select (see excerpt); hence, that which is picked out and therefore scarce
make oneself scarce
Informal to go or stay away
- Insufficient to meet a demand or requirement; short in supply: Fresh vegetables were scarce during the drought.
- Hard to find; absent or rare: Steel pennies are scarce now except in coin shops.
Barely or hardly; scarcely.
Origin of scarceMiddle English scars, from Old French scars, from Vulgar Latin *excarpsus, narrow, cramped, from past participle of *excarpere, to pluck out, alteration of Latin excerpere, to pick out; see excerpt.
(comparative scarcer, superlative scarcest)
- (now literary, archaic) Scarcely, only just.