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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 *peh₂w-, *ph₁w- (few, small) (English few).


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


paucity (countable and uncountable, plural paucities)

  1. Fewness in number; too few.
    • 1915, Green, Anna Katharine, 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.
    • 1963 January, “Beyond the Channel: France”, in Modern Railways, page 60:
      This paucity of trains helps to explain why electrification is not planned between Paris and Belfort.
    • 2006 July 13, Bronson, Po; Merryman, Ashley, “Uncle Sam Wants You”, in Time[1]:
      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.
    • 1650, Thomas Browne, “Of the Cameleon”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], 2nd edition, London: [] A. Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, [], OCLC 152706203, 3rd book, 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, Twain, Mark, At the Appetite-Cure:
      Now came shipwrecks and life in open boats, with the usual paucity of food.
    • 1915, Stratton-Porter, Gene, chapter 12, in Michael O'Halloran:
      Here is where the paucity of our language is made manifest.
    • 1975, Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift [Avon ed., 1976, p. 407]:
      Genteel America was handicapped by meagerness of soul, thinness of temper, paucity of talent.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[2], page 2:
      There are also texts that present more lengthy lists, of between ten and thirty examples, and in doing so include some less common terms. But, on the whole, there is at present a paucity of information about these terms.


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