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From Middle French paucité, from Old French, from Latin paucitas (a small number, fewness, scarcity), from paucus (few, little), from Proto-Indo-European *pau-, *ph₁w- (few, small) (English few).


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɑsɪti/, /ˈpɔsɪti/


paucity (countable and uncountable, plural paucities)

  1. Fewness in number; too few.
    • 1915, Anna Katharine Green, The Golden Slipper, problem 7:
      But when I had crossed the threshold, I was astonished at the paucity of facts to be gleaned from the inmates themselves.
    • 2006, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, "Uncle Sam Wants You," Time, 13 July:
      Your tax refund might be late, owing to a paucity of number crunchers.
  2. A smallness in size or amount that is insufficient; meagerness, dearth.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, “Of the Cameleon”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Or, Enquiries into Very Many Received Tenents, and Commonly Presumed Truths, London: Printed for Tho. Harper for Edvvard Dod, OCLC 838860010; Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Or, Enquiries into Very Many Received Tenents, and Commonly Presumed Truths. [...] Together with Some Marginall Observations, and a Table Alphabeticall at the End, book 3, 2nd corrected and much enlarged edition, London: Printed by A. Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath. Ekins, at the Gunne in Ivie Lane, 1650, OCLC 152706203, page 133:
      It cannot be denied it [the chameleon] is (if not the moſt of any) a very abſtemious animall, and ſuch as by reaſon of its frigidity, paucity of bloud, and latitancy in the winter (about which time the obſervations are often made) will long ſubſist without a viſible ſuſtentation.
    • 1898, Mark Twain, "At the Appetite-Cure":
      Now came shipwrecks and life in open boats, with the usual paucity of food.
    • 1915, Gene Stratton-Porter, Michael O'Halloran, ch. 12:
      Here is where the paucity of our language is made manifest.


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