Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Infrequently occurring; uncommon.
  • adjective Excellent; extraordinary.
  • adjective Thin in density; rarefied.
  • adjective Cooked just a short time so as to retain juice and redness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Early.
  • Not thoroughly cooked; partly cooked; underdone: applied to meat: as, rare beef; a rare chop.
  • A dialectal form of rear.
  • An obsolete form of roar.
  • Thin; porous; not dense; of slight consistence; rarefied; having relatively little matter in a given volume: as, a rare substance; the rare atmosphere of high mountains.
  • Thinly scattered; coming or occurring at wide intervals; sparse; dispersed.
  • Very uncommon or infrequent; seldom occurring or to be found; hardly ever met with.
  • Hence Remarkable from uncommonness; especially, uncommonly good, excellent, valuable, fine, or the like; of an excellence seldom met with.
  • Synonyms Rare, Scarce, infrequent, unusual. Rare implies that only few of the kind exist: as, perfect diamonds are rare. Scarce properly implies a previous or usual condition of greater abundance. Rare, means that there are much fewer of a kind to be found than may be found where scarce would apply.
  • Singular, extraordinary, incomparable, choice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Early.
  • adjective Nearly raw; partially cooked; not thoroughly cooked; underdone.
  • adjective Not frequent; seldom met with or occurring; unusual.
  • adjective Of an uncommon nature; unusually excellent; valuable to a degree seldom found.
  • adjective Thinly scattered; dispersed.
  • adjective Characterized by wide separation of parts; of loose texture; not thick or dense; thin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective cooking Cooked very lightly, so the meat is still red (in the case of steak or beef in the general sense).
  • adjective Very uncommon; scarce.
  • adjective of a gas thin; of low density
  • verb US, intransitive To rear, rise up, start backwards.
  • verb US, transitive To rear, bring up, raise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective (of meat) cooked a short time; still red inside
  • adjective not widely distributed
  • adjective not widely known; especially valued for its uncommonness
  • adjective having low density
  • adjective recurring only at long intervals
  • adjective marked by an uncommon quality; especially superlative or extreme of its kind

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rārus.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English rere, lightly boiled, from Old English hrēr; see kerə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English rare, from Old French rare, rere ("rare, uncommon"), 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, rarely seen, infrequent"; from Old Norse sialdsēnn; See seldsome).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant of rear.

Examples

  • It's not that those rare new classics or rare new breakthrough works can't happen, it's that they are _rare_.

    Downhill Fast

  • "Well," announced he, as he put down the box and pulled his adikey over his head, "I were seein 'Santa Claus th' day an 'givin' he a rare scoldin 'for passin' my maid by these two year -- a _rare_ scoldin '-- an'

    Ungava Bob A Winter's Tale

  • But many people are puzzled by the term "rare earth."

    Rare Earth Elements Becoming Hot Commodity

  • In his own thoroughly strange 1946 novel Life Comes to Seathorpe, Neil Bell appropriates the term "rare books" to designate members of a new, dissident literary canon.

    The stars of modern SF pick the best science fiction

  • If you think about it, even the term rare coins connotes scarcity, which is an important attribute of all successful products, whether they be collectibles or everyday consumer items.

    Creating Wealth

  • If you think about it, even the term rare coins connotes scarcity, which is an important attribute of all successful products, whether they be collectibles or everyday consumer items.

    Creating Wealth

  • NOTE TO EDITORS: Scientists use the term rare-earth elements to describe 17 elements, including: scandium and yttrium, plus the 15 so-called lanthanides.

    EurekAlert! - Breaking News

  • Today, rare earths are a global story-and a global investment opportunity-even if the term rare earth is somewhat misleading.

    Company Poised to Cash In on Global Demand for Metals - CNBC

  • NOTE TO EDITORS: Scientists use the term rare-earth elements to describe 17 elements, including: scandium and yttrium, plus the 15 so-called lanthanides.

    Science Blog

  • Mexico's government says the program was aimed at raising public awareness of what it calls a rare success in Mexico, creating an honest police force.

    Mexican Ministry Paid for Cop Show

Comments

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  • "But here, in Dreamland's centre,

    No spoiler's hand may enter,

    These visions fair, this radiance rare,

    Shall never pass away.

    I see the shadows falling,

    The forms of old recalling;

    Around me tread the mighty dead,

    And slowly pass away."

    - Lewis Carroll, 'Dreamland'.

    August 9, 2008

  • I'd like to see this rare Chinese character: link.

    September 2, 2010