English

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

      

    rare

     adjective
    adjective
    BrE BrE//reə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rer//
     
    (rarer, rarest) Texture of food
     
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  1. 1  not done, seen, happening, etc. very often a rare disease/occurrence/sight This weekend, visitors will get a rare chance to visit the private apartments. rare (for somebody/something to do something) It's extremely rare for it to be this hot in April. rare (to do something) It is rare to find such loyalty these days. On the rare occasions when they met he hardly even dared speak to her. It was a rare (= very great) honour to be made a fellow of the college. See related entries: Texture of food
  2. 2  existing only in small numbers and therefore valuable or interesting a rare book/coin/stamp a rare breed/plant This species is extremely rare. See related entries: Texture of food
  3. 3(of meat) cooked for only a short time so that the inside is still red ‘How would you like your steak?’ ‘Rare.’ compare well done See related entries: Texture of food
  4. see also rarity
    Word Origin senses 1 to 2 late Middle English (in the sense ‘widely spaced, infrequent’): from Latin rarus. sense 3 late 18th cent.: variant of obsolete rear ‘half-cooked’ (used to refer to soft-boiled eggs, from the mid 17th to mid 19th cents).Extra examples The stamps were not rare enough to be interesting. He suffers from a rare bone disease. It is rare for a prison sentence to be imposed for a first offence. On the rare occasions when they met he hardly even dared speak to her. The case provides a rare glimpse into police practice. The farm specializes in rare breeds. The hatching of a baby tortoise is a rare event in captivity. The jade vase was extremely rare and very valuable. The library has a collection of rare books and manuscripts. The marshes contain many rare species of plants. Then I had one of my rare good ideas. There are rare cases of human beings bursting into flames. This is a rare sight: badgers are normally active only at night. This specimen is very rare indeed. Visitors will get a rare chance to see inside the palace.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rare

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