adj. scarc·er, scarc·est
1. Insufficient to meet a demand or requirement; short in supply: Fresh vegetables were scarce during the drought.
2. Hard to find; absent or rare: Steel pennies are scarce now except in coin shops.
Barely or hardly; scarcely.
make (oneself) scarce Informal
1. To stay away; be absent or elusive.
2. To depart, especially quickly or furtively; abscond.
[Middle English scars, from Old French scars, from Vulgar Latin *excarpsus, narrow, cramped, from past participle of *excarpere, to pluck out, alteration of Latin excerpere, to pick out; see EXCERPT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.