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.

1625–35; rarefy + -ed2

ultrararefied, adjective
unrarefied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged


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

rarefiable, adjective
rarefier, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To rarefied
World English Dictionary
rarefied (ˈrɛərɪˌfaɪd)
1.  exalted in nature or character; lofty: a rarefied spiritual existence
2.  current within only a small group; esoteric or exclusive
3.  (of a gas, esp the atmosphere at high altitudes) having a low density; thin

rarefy (ˈrɛərɪˌfaɪ)
vb , -fies, -fying, -fied
to make or become rarer or less dense; thin out
[C14: from Old French raréfier, from Latin rārēfacere, from rārusrare1 + facere to make]

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

late 14c., from O.Fr. rarefier (14c.), from M.L. rarificare, from L. rarefacere "make rare," from rarus "rare, thin" (see rare (1)) + facere "to make" (see factitious).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature