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c.1600, from Middle French raréfaction or directly from Medieval Latin rarefactionem (nominative rarefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin rarefacere (see rarefy). Used chiefly in reference to gasses.
rarefaction rar·e·fac·tion (râr'ə-fāk'shən)
A decrease in density and pressure in a medium, such as air, caused by the passage of a sound wave.