Definition of scarce adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//skeəs//
; NAmE NAmE//skers//
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  • (scarcer, scarcest) if something is scarce, there is not enough of it and it is only available in small quantities scarce resources Details of the accident are scarce. Food was becoming scarce.
  • Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘restricted in quantity or size’, also ‘mean’): from a shortening of Anglo-Norman escars, from a Romance word meaning ‘plucked out, selected’.Extra examples Money was extremely scarce after the war. Skilled workers were becoming increasingly scarce. Butterflies are getting scarcer and scarcer in industrialized areas. Food was becoming increasingly scarce. Land suitable for building on is scarce. This is a criminal waste of scarce resources.Idioms (informal) to leave somewhere and stay away for a time in order to avoid an unpleasant situation I could see he was annoyed so I made myself scarce.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: scarce

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