adjective, sparser, sparsest.
thinly scattered or distributed: a sparse population.
not thick or dense; thin: sparse hair.
scanty; meager.

1715–25; < Latin sparsus, past participle of spargere to scatter, sparge

sparsely, adverb
sparseness, sparsity [spahr-si-tee] , noun
unsparse, adjective
unsparsely, adverb
unsparseness, noun

1–3. See scanty.

1–3. abundant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sparse (spɑːs)
scattered or scanty; not dense
[C18: from Latin sparsus, from spargere to scatter]

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

1727, from L. sparsus "scattered," pp. of spargere "to scatter, spread," from PIE base *(s)pregh- "to jerk, scatter" (cf. Skt. parjanya- "rain, rain god," Avestan fra-sparega "branch, twig," lit. "that which is jerked off a tree," O.N. freknur "freckles," Swed. dial. sprygg "brisk, active," Lith. sprogti
"shoot, bud," O.Ir. arg "a drop").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

sparse definition

A sparse matrix (or vector, or array) is one in which most of the elements are zero. If storage space is more important than access speed, it may be preferable to store a sparse matrix as a list of (index, value) pairs or use some kind of hash scheme or associative memory.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
True, the text was a bit sparse, but the numerous pop-ups and side panels kept
  me well entertained.
Skeletal evidence of possible interbreeding is sparse, contentious and
These attributes make them durable and dependable even in sparse mountainous
But evacuation centers are sparse, and not everyone has access to high ground.
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