sparse

[spahrs]
adjective, sparser, sparsest.
1.
thinly scattered or distributed: a sparse population.
2.
not thick or dense; thin: sparse hair.
3.
scanty; meager.

Origin:
1715–25; < Latin sparsus, past participle of spargere to scatter, sparge

sparsely, adverb
sparseness, sparsity [spahr-si-tee] , noun
unsparse, adjective
unsparsely, adverb
unsparseness, noun


1–3. See scanty.


1–3. abundant.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
sparse (spɑːs)
 
adj
scattered or scanty; not dense
 
[C18: from Latin sparsus, from spargere to scatter]
 
'sparsely
 
adv
 
'sparseness
 
n
 
'sparsity
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

sparse
1727, from L. sparsus "scattered," pp. of spargere "to scatter, spread," from PIE base *(s)pregh- "to jerk, scatter" (cf. Skt. parjanya- "rain, rain god," Avestan fra-sparega "branch, twig," lit. "that which is jerked off a tree," O.N. freknur "freckles," Swed. dial. sprygg "brisk, active," Lith. sprogti
"shoot, bud," O.Ir. arg "a drop").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

sparse definition


A sparse matrix (or vector, or array) is one in which most of the elements are zero. If storage space is more important than access speed, it may be preferable to store a sparse matrix as a list of (index, value) pairs or use some kind of hash scheme or associative memory.
(1995-01-16)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
True, the text was a bit sparse, but the numerous pop-ups and side panels kept
  me well entertained.
Skeletal evidence of possible interbreeding is sparse, contentious and
  inconclusive.
These attributes make them durable and dependable even in sparse mountainous
  terrain.
But evacuation centers are sparse, and not everyone has access to high ground.
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