Meaning of RARE in English


I. ˈra(a)](ə)r, ˈre], ]ə\ adjective

( rarer ; rarest )

Etymology: alteration (influenced by rare ) (II) of earlier rere, from Middle English, from Old English hrēre boiled lightly; akin to Old English & Old Saxon hrōr busy, active, strong, Old English hrēran to stir — more at crater

: cooked to a slight degree

rare roast beef

II. adjective

( rarer ; rarest )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin rarus; perhaps akin to Latin rete net — more at retina

1. : characterized by wide separation of component particles : thin

the rare air of the mountain top

— compare dense


a. : marked by unusual quality, merit, appeal, or capacity to please : distinctive , excellent

what is so rare as a day in June — J.R.Lowell

b. : superlative or extreme in its kind : fine , great , real

he'll make a rare fuss — Eden Phillpots

3. : seldom occurring or appearing : widely separated in space or time : few and far between : unusual , uncommon , infrequent

rare patches of green in the desert — Emma Hawkridge

in back country where automobiles from other parts are rare — Cornelius Weygandt

specifically : belonging to a small group or class

argon is a rare gas

4. : valued for its scarcity or exceptional character

a rare book

Synonyms: see choice , thin

III. adjective & adverb

Etymology: probably alteration of rathe

chiefly dialect : early


chiefly dialect

variant of rear


chiefly dialect

variant of roar

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.