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Definition shortage (having an amount that is less than desired)

More rarely (and typically in classic literature), scarce can be short for scarcely or hardly or barely or by a small margin — such as in "She was scarce ten years old," or "I scarce know why."
  • There is a scarcity of work in the region.
scarcity = shortage
  • Water is scarce in the region.
  • scarce = in short supply
  • Work is scarce in the region.
  • scarce = in short supply
  • The economists disagree on how to allocate scarce resources.
  • scarce = short in supply
  • The unrest lead to a scarcity of oil and thus to higher prices.
  • scarcity = shortage
  • Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to join it.
    Jane Austen  --  Pride and Prejudice
  • Game was scarce, forcing Franklin and his men to subsist on lichens scraped from boulders, singed deer hide, scavenged animal bones, their own boot leather, and finally one another's flesh.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • scarce = less than desired
  • Partridge had scarce seen his master since the happy discovery.
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • scarce = hardly (barely or very little)
  • in the mountains where doctors were scarce
    Katherine Paterson  --  Jacob Have I Loved
  • scarce = available less than desired
  • Alan took the first watch; and it seemed to me I had scarce closed my eyes before I was shaken up to take the second.
    Robert Louis Stevenson  --  Kidnapped
  • scarce = barely or hardly (by a small margin; or an amount that is less than desired)
  • I am scarce in breath, my lord.
    William Shakespeare  --  King Lear
  • scarce = barely (an amount that is less than desired)
  • I scarce know how to put my story into words...
    Henry James  --  The Turn of the Screw
  • scarce = hardly (by a small margin)
  • Game becomes seemingly plentiful in the fall (it's easier to see with the leaves off the brush) but in winter it gets scarce and sometimes simply nonexistent as...
    Gary Paulsen  --  Hatchet
  • scarce = an amount that is less than desired
  • Jobs are scarce.
    August Wilson  --  Fences
  • scarce = available less than desired
  • In October 1990, more than three months after McCandless left Atlanta, a National Park Service ranger named Bud Walsh was sent into the backcountry of Lake Mead National Recreation Area to tally bear-paw poppies so that the federal government might better know just how scarce the plants were.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • scarce = rare
  • There is scarce any of those old Writers, that contradicteth not sometimes both himself, and others; which makes their Testimonies insufficient.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • Alvin scarce heard the search go on around him.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Red Prophet
  • I believe most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.
    Maya Angelou  --  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • The tribes hold a dragon's treasure in their hands, but gold and jewels do not provide warmth on a winter night, nor food when game is scarce.
    R.A. Salvatore  --  The Crystal Shard
  • Adult organs from people dying of trauma were scarce enough; a child donor was exceedingly rare.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone

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