9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[rair-uh-fahyd] /ˈrɛər əˌfaɪd/
extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted:
the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.
of, belonging to, or appealing to an exclusive group; select; esoteric:
rarefied tastes.
Origin of rarefied
1625-35; rarefy + -ed2
Related forms
ultrararefied, adjective
unrarefied, adjective


[rair-uh-fahy] /ˈrɛər əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), rarefied, rarefying.
to make rare or rarer; make less dense:
to rarefy a gas.
to make more refined, spiritual, or exalted.
verb (used without object), rarefied, rarefying.
to become rare or less dense; become thinned:
Moisture rarefies when heated.
1350-1400; Middle English rarefien < Middle French rarefier < Latin rārēfacere, equivalent to rārē-, combining form of rārus rare1 (for expected rāri-; orig. of -ē- unclear) + facere to make; see -fy
Related forms
rarefiable, adjective
rarefier, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rarefied
  • The disagreements do not always arise in rarefied contexts.
  • As colleges expand entrepreneurship education, more are giving hands-on schooling in the rarefied world of start-up finance.
  • But the outsider had an in: his father, a mathematician, brought him into the rarefied world of the university.
  • He doesn't gush about balsamic reductions or rarefied vintages.
  • Lift is a problem in the rarefied air of the stratosphere, and it seems such a design can help.
  • During the cold war space was largely thought of as part of the rarefied but terrifying domain of nuclear warfare.
  • Yes, because what was beforehand essentially a rarefied set of references became something everyone enjoyed.
  • To find better answers, it may help to look past pendulums and polls and turn to the rarefied realm of political ideas.
  • All that they consider is either more, less, or the right regulation in the rarefied air of academic and professorial discussion.
  • The gas in the hot bubble is too rarefied to produce much light in spite of its enormous temperatures.
British Dictionary definitions for rarefied


exalted in nature or character; lofty: a rarefied spiritual existence
current within only a small group; esoteric or exclusive
(of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
to make or become rarer or less dense; thin out
Derived Forms
rarefiable, adjective
rarefier, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French raréfier, from Latin rārēfacere, from rārusrare1 + facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rarefied



late 14c., from Old French rarefier (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin rarificare, from Latin rarefacere "make rare," from rarus "rare, thin" (see rare (adj.1)) + facere "to make" (see factitious). Related: Rarefied.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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