Definition of SCARCE

SCARCE Adjective

As an adjective, scarce describes something that is in short supply or insufficient relative to demand. It indicates a limited quantity or availability of a particular resource, commodity, or item, leading to competition or difficulty in obtaining it.

Limited Availability: The term scarce highlights the rarity or scarcity of something, whether it be natural resources such as water, minerals, or fossil fuels, or goods and services such as food, housing, or medical supplies. Scarcity can result from factors such as depletion, high demand, regulatory constraints, or market dynamics.

Economic Implications: In economics, scarce resources are central to the study of allocation, production, distribution, and consumption decisions. The concept of scarcity underpins economic theories such as supply and demand, opportunity cost, and market equilibrium, shaping patterns of trade, investment, and resource utilization.

Impact on Prices and Markets: Scarcity influences prices and market dynamics, as goods or services in short supply often command higher prices or become subject to rationing, hoarding, or speculation. Market forces respond to scarcity by incentivizing producers to increase supply, innovating alternative solutions, or allocating resources more efficiently.

Environmental Concerns: Concerns about resource depletion, environmental degradation, and sustainability arise when essential resources become scarce. Addressing scarcity challenges requires strategies such as conservation, renewable resource management, technological innovation, and policy interventions to ensure equitable access and long-term viability.

Social and Political Ramifications: Scarcity can exacerbate social inequalities, economic disparities, and geopolitical tensions, leading to conflicts over access to resources, unequal distribution of wealth, or political instability. Addressing scarcity-related issues often requires collective action, international cooperation, and policy coordination at local, national, and global levels.

Mitigation Strategies: Efforts to mitigate scarcity include diversifying energy sources, promoting recycling and waste reduction, investing in alternative technologies, and improving resource management practices. Education, research, and public awareness campaigns also play a crucial role in fostering sustainable consumption habits and addressing scarcity challenges.

As an adjective, scarce denotes something that is in short supply or insufficient relative to demand, highlighting the challenges of resource scarcity in various domains. Understanding and addressing scarcity issues require interdisciplinary approaches, collaborative efforts, and innovative solutions to ensure equitable access, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic stability in a world of finite resources.

Examples of SCARCE in a sentence

  • Freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce in certain regions due to climate change.
  • The pandemic has caused certain medical supplies to become scarce in many parts of the world.
  • In the desert, water is a scarce resource that must be carefully managed.
  • During times of war, food and other essentials may become scarce for civilians.
  • The artist’s work is highly valued because it is scarce and difficult to obtain.
  • Jobs are scarce in the small town, leading many residents to commute to nearby cities for work.
  • Scarce resources often lead to competition and conflict among individuals and groups.
  • As natural habitats are destroyed, certain species of animals become increasingly scarce.

Etymology of SCARCE

The term scarce embarks on an exploration of economics, resource allocation, and societal dynamics, reflecting humanity’s encounter with limited supplies and competing demands. Rooted in Old French and Latin influences, it has evolved into an adjective that denotes insufficiency or rarity in relation to goods, services, or resources.

  • Old French and Latin Origins: The term scarce traces its etymology to the Old French word “escars,” meaning “sparse” or “scanty,” which itself derives from the Latin “excarpsus,” conveying the notion of being picked out or chosen sparingly. These linguistic roots highlight the concept of scarcity as inherent to human existence and resource management.
  • Economic Significance: In economics, scarce resources are those that exist in limited quantities relative to the demand for them. This scarcity gives rise to the fundamental problem of allocation, as individuals and societies must make choices about how to allocate limited resources among competing wants and needs.
  • Allocation and Opportunity Cost: The concept of scarcity underpins economic theories of supply and demand, production, consumption, and opportunity cost. Scarce resources compel individuals and societies to prioritize and make trade-offs, sacrificing one option for another based on perceived value and utility.
  • Impact on Markets: Scarcity influences market behavior, prices, and incentives, driving competition and innovation as individuals and businesses seek to overcome scarcity through efficiency gains, technological advancements, and resource optimization strategies.
  • Social and Environmental Implications: Beyond its economic dimensions, scarcity has social and environmental implications, shaping patterns of inequality, access to essential goods and services, and environmental sustainability. Addressing scarcity often requires collective action, policy interventions, and sustainable resource management practices.

Scarce stands as a concept that underscores the inherent limitations and challenges of human existence, while also inspiring innovation, adaptation, and cooperation in the face of scarcity. From its Old French and Latin origins to its modern-day applications in economics, resource management, and public policy, the term embodies the complexities of resource scarcity and its profound influence on human societies and behaviors.


  • Limited
  • Rare
  • Sparse
  • In short supply
  • Scant
  • Hard to come by
  • Infrequent
  • Deficient


  • Abundant
  • Plentiful
  • Ample
  • Common
  • Available
  • Overflowing
  • Copious
  • Plentiful


  • Scarcity
  • Shortage
  • Insufficiency
  • Dearth
  • Rarity
  • Infrequency
  • Paucity
  • Deficiency

🌐 🇬🇧 SCARCE in other languages

Terms of Use

Privacy & Cookies


Who We Are

Main Sections


Geographical Locations



Let´s Talk



® 2024