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Denotation vs. Connotation

scarce

[skairs] /skɛərs/
adjective, scarcer, scarcest.
1.
insufficient to satisfy the need or demand; not abundant:
Meat and butter were scarce during the war.
2.
seldom met with; rare:
a scarce book.
adverb
3.
Idioms
4.
make oneself scarce, Informal.
  1. to depart, especially suddenly.
  2. to stay away; avoid.
Origin of scarce
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English scars < Old North French (e)scars < Vulgar Latin *excarpsus plucked out, for Latin excerptus; see excerpt
Related forms
scarceness, noun
unscarce, adjective
unscarcely, adverb
unscarceness, noun
Can be confused
extinct, rare, scarce.
Synonyms
1. deficient. 2. uncommon, infrequent.
Antonyms
1. abundant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scarce
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The top of this height, on the contrary, has scarce any wood.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • Maybe he museth, but he had scarce a word to say for himself.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • She scarce listened, for at first she was bemused by two thoughts.

    The Job Sinclair Lewis
  • She had left it impulsively, she admitted, scarce knowing what she did.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • They could scarce see their way through the sleet they had to face.

    The Life of George Washington Josephine Pollard
British Dictionary definitions for scarce

scarce

/skɛəs/
adjective
1.
rarely encountered
2.
insufficient to meet the demand
3.
(informal) make oneself scarce, to go away, esp suddenly
adverb
4.
(archaic or literary) scarcely
Derived Forms
scarceness, noun
Word Origin
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 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 scarce
adj.

c.1300, "restricted in quantity," from Old North French scars "scanty, scarce" (Old French eschars, Modern French échars) from Vulgar Latin *scarsus, from *escarpsus, from *excarpere "pluck out," from classical Latin excerpere "pluck out" (see excerpt). As an adverb early 14c. from the adjective. Phrase to make oneself scarce "go away" first attested 1771, noted as a current "cant phrase." Related: Scarcely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with scarce

scarce

In addition to the idiom beginning with scarce also see: make oneself scarce
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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