make oneself scarce


adjective, scarcer, scarcest.
insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant: Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
seldom met with; rare: a scarce book.
make oneself scarce, Informal.
to depart, especially suddenly.
to stay away; avoid.

1250–1300; Middle English scars < Old North French (e)scars < Vulgar Latin *excarpsus plucked out, for Latin excerptus; see excerpt

scarceness, noun
unscarce, adjective
unscarcely, adverb
unscarceness, noun

extinct, rare, scarce.

1. deficient. 2. uncommon, infrequent.

1. abundant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
scarce (skɛəs)
1.  rarely encountered
2.  insufficient to meet the demand
3.  informal make oneself scarce to go away, esp suddenly
4.  archaic, literary or scarcely
[C13: from Old Norman French scars, from Vulgar Latin excarpsus (unattested) plucked out, from Latin excerpere to select; see excerpt]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "restricted in quantity," from O.N.Fr. scars (O.Fr. eschars) from V.L. *escarpsus, from *excarpere "pluck out," from L. excerpere "pluck out" (see excerpt). Phrase to make oneself scarce "go away" first attested 1809 in "Gil Blas." Related: Scarcely.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

make (oneself) scarce definition

  1. tv.
    to leave; to be in a place less frequently; to be less in evidence. : Here come the boys in blue. I'd better make myself scarce.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

make oneself scarce

Depart quickly, go away, as in The children saw Mrs. Frost coming and made themselves scarce. This idiom applies scarce in the sense of "seldom seen" to removing one's presence. [c. 1800]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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