Definition of sparse in English:


See synonyms for sparse

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  • 1Thinly dispersed or scattered.

    ‘areas of sparse population’
    • ‘It wasn't that his sparse acne had miraculously dispersed into clear skin, or that he had suddenly buffed up overnight.’
    • ‘As we mentioned earlier, bluebirds prefer open rural areas with scattered trees and sparse ground cover.’
    • ‘If you do selective logging, or harvest sparse and scattered stands, the mobility and speed pays off.’
    • ‘Here the population was sparse, tiny villages and small, often isolated manors close to the riverbanks.’
    • ‘The homogenous and sparse population was replaced by the restless diversity, sprawl and cacophony of one of the fastest growing places in America.’
    • ‘For the earliest inhabitants of Southern France, practising a hunter-gatherer way of life, the natural resources were abundant and more than adequate for a sparse population.’
    • ‘Large families and the practice of partible inheritance strained lands that under the best circumstances could only sustain sparse populations.’
    • ‘Their subsequently published journals emphasized, in particular, the remoteness and sparse populations of the two regions.’
    • ‘There is nothing to warrant the supposition that the Bahamas ever had more than a very sparse aboriginal population.’
    • ‘Harmony Hills had a very sparse population; there were only a few thousand people in our community.’
    • ‘The houses were big and the population sparse because they were so spread-out.’
    • ‘The French population of this vast region was sparse, however, reaching only 85,000 in the 1760s.’
    • ‘Unfortunately their crowd at Valve was sparse - unfortunate because the always charismatic front man Jeremy ‘Jez’ Brown is a born entertainer.’
    • ‘A majority of the film is set in a sparse bedroom, where two unidentified strangers exchange abstract dialogue and act out a series of shocking images over a period of four nights.’
    • ‘I only use an eyebrow pencil to fill in my sparse eyebrows.’
    • ‘Costumes were sparse, with the only indicator of femininity for Helena and Hermia an occasional handbag.’
    • ‘The restaurant is large, and the sparse décor and worn-in look give it the atmosphere of a legion hall.’
    • ‘There are very few actors who could carry off this film, with its sparse dialogue and total absence of voiceover.’
    • ‘There is nothing but dead rocks, a few sparse patches of grass, and an occasional pair of odd looking trees.’
    • ‘The version presented here is Take 1, which was made at home, just Lennon alone at the piano, without any of the sparse accompaniment that further elevated it to it's anthemic status.’
    scanty, scant, scattered, thinly distributed, scarce, infrequent, sporadic, few and far between
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    1. 1.1Austere; meager.
      ‘an elegantly sparse chamber’
      • ‘William Shakespeare's life is somewhat of a mystery to scholars due to the fact that most information that is known is very scattered and sparse.’
      • ‘A surprisingly sparse paper trail offers only scattered clues on the obscure life of William Shakespeare, one of the world's most influential dramatists.’
      scanty, scant, scattered, thinly distributed, scarce, infrequent, sporadic, few and far between
      View synonyms



/spärs/ /spɑrs/


Early 18th century (used to describe writing in the sense ‘widely spaced’): from Latin sparsus, past participle of spargere ‘scatter’.