Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of rare
Meaning of rare by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • ( UK ) IPA: /ɹɛə/
    • ( US ) IPA: /ɹɛɹ/
    • Rhymes: -ɛə( r )

    Etymology 1

    From a dialectal variant of rear, from Middle English rere, from Old English hrēr, hrēre ( “not thoroughly cooked, underdone, lightly boiled” ), from hrēran ( “to move, shake, agitate” ), from Proto-Germanic *hrōzijanan ( “to stir” ), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱera-, *ḱrā- ( “to mix, stir, cook” ). Related to Old English hrōr ( “stirring, busy, active, strong, brave” ). More at rear .

    Alternative form


    rare ( comparative rarer or more rare, superlative rarest or most rare )

    1. ( of cooking, particularly meats ) Cooked very lightly, so the meat is still red ( in the case of steak or beef in the general sense ) .
    Derived terms
    • medium-rare

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English rare, from Old French rare, rere ( “rare, rare” ), from Latin rārus ( “loose, spaced apart, thin, infrequent” ), from Proto-Indo-European *er( e )-, *rē- ( “friable, thin” ). Replaced native Middle English gesen ( "rare, scarce"; from Old English gǣsne ), Middle English seld ( "rare, uncommon"; from Old English selden ), and Middle English seldsene ( "rare, rare seen, infrequent"; from Old Norse sialdsēnn; See seldsome ) .


    rare ( comparative rarer, superlative rarest )

    1. Very uncommon; scarce .
      Black pearls are very rare and therefore, very valuable .
    2. ( of a gas ) thin; of low density
    Derived terms
    Related terms

    Etymology 3

    Variant of rear .


    rare ( third-person singular simple present rares present participle raring, simple past and past participle rared )

    1. ( US, intransitive ) To rear, rise up, start backwards.
    2. ( US, transitive ) To rear, bring up, raise .


Explanation of rare by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. not widely distributed

    2. rare herbs
      rare patches of green in the desert
    3. not widely known

    4. a rare word
      rare books
    5. ( of meat ) cooked a short time

    6. rare roast beef
    7. recurring only at long intervals

    8. a rare appearance
      total eclipses are rare events
    9. marked by an uncommon quality

    10. what is so rare as a day in June-J.R.Lowell
      a rare skill
    11. having low density

    12. rare gasses
      lightheaded from the rarefied mountain air