Definitions

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

  • n. Insufficiency of amount or supply; shortage: a scarcity of food that was caused by drought.
  • n. Rarity of appearance or occurrence: antiques that are valued for their scarcity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the condition of something being scarce or deficient
  • n. an inadequate amount of something; a shortage

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Sparingness; parsimony; niggardliness; stinginess.
  • n. The state or condition of being scarce; smallness of quantity or number, or smallness in proportion to the wants or demands; absolutely, deficiency of things necessary to the subsistence of man; dearth; want; famine.
  • n. Synonyms Scarcity, Dearth, Famine. Scarcity of the necessities of life is not so severe as dearth, nor dearth so severe as famine. Primarily, dearth is a scarcity that is felt in high prices, and famine such scarcity that people have to go hungry; but both are generally stronger than their derivation would suggest, famine often standing for extreme difficulty in getting anything whatever to support life.

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

  • n. a small and inadequate amount

Etymologies

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