• (RP) IPA: /ˈskɛəs/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈskɛɚs/

scarce (comparative scarcer, superlative scarcest)

  1. Uncommon, rare; difficult to find; insufficient to meet a demand.
    • 1691, John Locke, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money
      You tell him silver is scarcer now in England, and therefore risen in value one fifth.
  2. (archaic) Scantily supplied (with); deficient (in); used with of.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 3”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      a region scarce of prey
Synonyms Related terms Translations Adverb

scarce (not comparable)

  1. (now literary, archaic) Scarcely, only just.
    • 1645, John Milton, An Epitaph on the marchioness of Winchester:
      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.
    • 1906, Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman:
      He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
      But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
      As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
      And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
      (Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
    • 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.
    • 1969, John Cleese, Monty Python's Flying Circus:
      Well, it's scarce the replacement then, is it?

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