from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Insufficient to meet a demand or requirement; short in supply.
  • adjective Hard to find; absent or rare.
  • adverb Barely or hardly; scarcely.
  • idiom (make (oneself) scarce) To stay away; be absent or elusive.
  • idiom (make (oneself) scarce) To depart, especially quickly or furtively; abscond.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make less; diminish; make scant.
  • Hardly; barely; scarcely.
  • Sparing; parsimonious; niggard; niggardly; stingy.
  • Scantily supplied; poorly provided; not having much: sometimes with of.
  • Diminished; reduced from the original or the proper size or measure; deficient; short.
  • Deficient in quantity or number; insufficient for the need or demand; scant; scanty; not abundant.
  • Few in number; seldom seen; infrequent; uncommon; rare: as, scarce coins; a scarce book.
  • Characterized by scarcity, especially of provisions, or the necessaries of life.
  • Synonyms and Rare, Scarce. See rare.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not plentiful or abundant; in small quantity in proportion to the demand; not easily to be procured; rare; uncommon.
  • adjective obsolete Scantily supplied (with); deficient (in); -- with of.
  • adjective obsolete Sparing; frugal; parsimonious; stingy.
  • adjective [Slang] to decamp; to depart.
  • adverb With difficulty; hardly; scantly; barely; but just.
  • adverb obsolete Frugally; penuriously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Uncommon, rare; difficult to find; insufficient to meet a demand.
  • adverb now literary, archaic Scarcely, only just.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand
  • adverb only a very short time before


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle 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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Northern Old French scars, escars ( > French échars), from Late Latin *scarsus, probably originally a participle form of *excarpere ("take out"), from Latin ex- + carpere.


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  • In the rare book field, a scarce publication traditionally isn't as hard to find as a rare publication, but it might take a few years to locate.

    February 25, 2008

  • For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be SCARCE and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. Deuteronomy 8:7~9.

    March 9, 2011

  • Did I just find another rhymeless word?

    May 2, 2016

  • The 1909 Rhymester says it has no rhyme.

    May 2, 2016

  • Well, yes and no.

    In my accent, scarce rhymes with yes.

    May 2, 2016

  • And I think in some parts of Ireland words such as fierce and immerse would rhyme with scarce. This will require some thought. Meanwhile,

    I'll search for consonant pairs

    That work without putting on airs.

    Though maybe not crisp,

    If you have a lisp

    The rhymes are not really that scarce.

    May 2, 2016

  • fierce


    May 2, 2016