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Webster 1913 Edition


Scarce

Scarce

(skârs)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Scarcer
(skâr′sẽr)
;
sup
erl.
Scarcest
.]
[OE.
scars
, OF.
escars
,
eschars
, LL.
scarpsus
,
excarpsus
, for L.
excerptus
, p. p. of
excerpere
to pick out, and hence to contract, to shorten;
ex
(see
Ex-
) +
carpere
. See
Carpet
, and cf.
Excerp
.]
1.
Not plentiful or abundant; in small quantity in proportion to the demand; not easily to be procured; rare; uncommon.
You tell him silver is
scarcer
now in England, and therefore risen one fifth in value.
Locke.
The
scarcest
of all is a Pescennius Niger on a medallion well preserved.
Addison.
2.
Scantily supplied (with); deficient (in); – with of.
[Obs.]
“A region scarce of prey.”
Milton.
3.
Sparing; frugal; parsimonious; stingy.
[Obs.]
“Too scarce ne too sparing.”
Chaucer.
To make one’s self scarce
,
to decamp; to depart.
[Slang]
Syn. – Rare; infrequent; deficient. See
Rare
.

Webster 1828 Edition


Scarce

SCARCE

, a.
1.
Not plentiful or abundant; being in small quantity in proportion to the demand. We say, water is scarce, wheat, rye, barley is scarce, money is scarce, when the quantity is not fully adequate to the demand.
2.
Being few in number and scattered; rare; uncommon. Good horses are scarce.
The scarcest of all is a Pescennius Niger on a medallion well preserved.

SCARCE

,

Definition 2022


scarce

scarce

English

Alternative forms

Adjective

scarce (comparative scarcer, superlative scarcest)

  1. Uncommon, rare; difficult to find; insufficient to meet a demand.
    • John Locke
      You tell him silver is scarcer now in England, and therefore risen one fifth in value.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 3, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
  2. Scantily supplied (with); deficient (in); used with of.

Translations

Adverb

scarce (not comparable)

  1. (now literary, archaic) Scarcely, only just.
    • Milton
      With a scarce well-lighted flame.
    • 1854, Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven:
      And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure that I heard you [...].
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4:
      Yet had I scarce set foot in the passage when I stopped, remembering how once already this same evening I had played the coward, and run home scared with my own fears.
    • 1931, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, Vintage 1993, p. 122:
      Upon the barred and slitted wall the splotched shadow of the heaven tree shuddered and pulsed monstrously in scarce any wind.

See also

Anagrams