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[skair-si-tee] /ˈskɛər sɪ ti/
noun, plural scarcities.
insufficiency or shortness of supply; dearth.
rarity; infrequency.
Origin of scarcity
1300-50; Middle English scarsete(e) < Old North French escarsete. See scarce, -ity
Related forms
nonscarcity, noun, plural nonscarcities.
1. shortage, want, lack, paucity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scarcity
  • But the scarcity that could make a shell seem so precious was almost always illusory.
  • The problem of scholarship in our age is one of abundance, not scarcity.
  • He suggested in several interviews that the gas's price should mirror its actual demand and scarcity.
  • But a basic rule of communication is that abundance brings scarcity: an abundance of media creates a scarcity of attention.
  • The juxtaposition of luxury and scarcity was ever present.
  • The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity.
  • But the scarcity and variable quality of this tissue makes it an impractical therapy.
  • There really isn't a scarcity of spectrum, there has been difficulty in utilizing that spectrum efficiently.
  • What has led to its scarcity is not well understood.
  • They often live in self-designed environments of relative scarcity.
British Dictionary definitions for scarcity


noun (pl) -ties
inadequate supply; dearth; paucity
rarity or infrequent occurrence
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 scarcity

c.1300, from Old North French escarcete (Old French escharsete), from eschars (see scarce).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scarcity in Culture

scarcity definition

The basic problem on which classical economic theory is built: simply, that human wants will always exceed the resources available to fulfill those wants. This tenet was challenged by the rise of what John Kenneth Galbraith described as the affluent society.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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