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n. pl. rar·i·ties
1. Something rare.
2. The quality or state of being rare; infrequency of occurrence.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ties
1. a rare person or thing, esp something interesting or valued because it is uncommon
2. the state or quality of being rare
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈrɛər ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. the state or quality of being rare.
2. something rare or extremely uncommon.
3. rare occurrence; infrequency.
4. thinness, as of air or a gas.
[1550–60; < Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Exclusive as a mail box —Raymond Chandler
  2. He’s unusual all right … like the last of the orange flamingos —Saul Bellow
  3. A miracle as great as art —Charles Bukowski
  4. (And what is so) rare as a day in June —James Russell Lowell One of Lowell’s most memorable lines!
  5. (To think of nothing benign to memorize is as) rare as feeling no personal blemish —W. H. Auden
  6. Rare as a man without self-pity —Stephen Vincent Benét
  7. Rare and wonderful feeling, like the first moments of love —George Garrett
  8. Rare as a black swan —Anon

    This probably evolved from “Rare to be found as black swans” featured in Daniel Rogers’ seventeenth century Matrimonial Honors.

  9. Rare as a Cockney accent at Eton —Anon
  10. Rare as a man without self-pity —Stephen Vincent Benét
  11. Rare as an Emperor moth —Lawrence Durrell
  12. Rare as a New York City subway train without graffiti —Elyse Sommer
  13. Rare as a nine dollar bill —Anon
  14. Rare as a politician on the stump who doesn’t make promises —Anon

    A partner to this one: “Rare as a politician who lives up to his campaign promises.”

  15. Rare as a well-spent life -Anon
  16. (A lucky man is) rare as a white crow —Juvenal
  17. Rare as a winter swallow —Honoré de Balzac
  18. Rare as discretion in a gossip —Anon
  19. Rare as humility in a grizzly bear —Julian Ralph
  20. (Movies like Paul Mayersberg’s Captive are as) rare as peacocks’ teeth —Vincent Canby, New York Times, April 3, 1987
  21. Rare as rocking horse manure —Anon
  22. Rare as snow in July —Anon

    Another modern simile which can be traced to an earlier form: “Like snow at Midsummer, exceeding rare.”

  23. Rare in life as black lightning on a blue sky —Fitz-Greene Halleck
  24. (The liberal “effete snobs” that Spiro T. Agnew railed against are as) rare today as Republicans on the welfare rolls —Barbara Ehrenreich
  25. Scarce as below par golf scores —Anon
  26. Scarce as fat men in a long-distance marathon —Anon
  27. Scarce as a six figure advance for a first novel by an unknown author —Elyse Sommer
  28. [Money … was as] scarce as frogs’ teeth, crabs’ tails or eunuchs’ whiskers —Pat Barr

    Barr’s colorful multiple simile refers to the scarcity of money in Korea during the late nineteenth century when the heroine of her book, Curious Life For a Lady, was there.

  29. Scarce as ice cream vendors on a snowy day in January —Anon

    The comparative twists on this are endless, for example: “Scarce as lemonade stands in the desert,” or “Scarce as women in fur coats in ninety degree weather.”

  30. Scarce as low-cost, high profit ideas for an untapped market —Anon
  31. Scarce as squirrels at a busy city street crossing —Elyse Sommer
  32. Scarce as the buffalo that once roamed the prairie —Enid Nemy, New York Times, July 6, 1986

    Nemy likened the buffalo scarcity to newsy letters.

  33. Scarce as the cardinal virtues —Ross Macdonald
  34. Scarce as two dollar gourmet lunches —Anon
  35. (One of the kindest-natured persons that I ever knew on this earth, where kind people are) as rare as black eagles or red deer —Ouida
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.rarity - noteworthy scarcityrarity - noteworthy scarcity      
scarceness, scarcity - a small and inadequate amount
2.rarity - a rarified quality; "the tenuity of the upper atmosphere"
density, denseness - the amount per unit size
3.rarity - something unusual -- perhaps worthy of collecting
object, physical object - a tangible and visible entity; an entity that can cast a shadow; "it was full of rackets, balls and other objects"
collectable, collectible - things considered to be worth collecting (not necessarily valuable or antique)
collector's item, piece de resistance, showpiece - the outstanding item (the prize piece or main exhibit) in a collection
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. curio, find, treasure, pearl, one-off, curiosity, gem, collector's item Other rarities include an interview with Presley.
2. uncommonness, scarcity, infrequency, unusualness, shortage, strangeness, singularity, sparseness This indicates the rarity of such attacks.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
شَيئٌ نادِرنُدْرَه
fágæti, sjaldgæfur hluturòaî aî vera sjaldgæfur
biały krukrarytasrzadkość
azlıknadir şeynadirlik


[ˈrɛərɪtɪ] N
1.rareza f
2. (= rare thing) → rareza f, cosa f rara
it's a rarity hereaquí es una rareza or una cosa rara
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈrɛərɪti] n
(= scarceness) [species, book, antique] → rareté f
(= rare person) → rareté f (= rare thing) → rareté f
to be a rarity → être une rareté
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nSeltenheit f; (= rare occurrence also)Rarität f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈrɛərɪtɪ] n
a. (also rareness) → rarità
b. (rare thing) → rarità f inv
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈreə) adjective
1. not done, found, seen etc very often; uncommon. a rare flower; a rare occurrence.
2. (of meat) only slightly cooked. I like my steak rare.
ˈrareness noun
ˈrarely adverb
not often. I rarely go to bed before midnight.
ˈrarity noun
1. the state of being uncommon.
2. (plural ˈrarities) something which is uncommon. This stamp is quite a rarity.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
The evidence of rarity preceding extinction, is more striking in the successive tertiary strata, as remarked by several able observers; it has often been found that a shell very common in a tertiary stratum is now most rare, and has even long been thought extinct.
You may then take courage; cultivate the faculties that God and nature have bestowed on you, and do not fear in any crisis of suffering, under any pressure of injustice, to derive free and full consolation from the consciousness of their strength and rarity."
Though Sophia eat but little, yet she was regularly served with her meals; indeed, I believe, if she had liked any one rarity, that the squire, however angry, would have spared neither pains nor cost to have procured it for her; since, however strange it may appear to some of my readers, he really doated on his daughter, and to give her any kind of pleasure was the highest satisfaction of his life.
How true it is, that the rarity of any particular article enhances its value amazingly.
Difficulties on the theory of descent with modification -- Transitions -- Absence or rarity of transitional varieties -- Transitions in habits of life -- Diversified habits in the same species -- Species with habits widely different from those of their allies -- Organs of extreme perfection -- Means of transition -- Cases of difficulty -- Natura non facit saltum -- Organs of small importance -- Organs not in all cases absolutely perfect -- The law of Unity of Type and of the Conditions of Existence embraced by the theory of Natural Selection.
For, in these times, as the mender of roads worked, solitary, in the dust, not often troubling himself to reflect that dust he was and to dust he must return, being for the most part too much occupied in thinking how little he had for supper and how much more he would eat if he had it--in these times, as he raised his eyes from his lonely labour, and viewed the prospect, he would see some rough figure approaching on foot, the like of which was once a rarity in those parts, but was now a frequent presence.
Rarity and density, roughness and smoothness, seem to be terms indicating quality: yet these, it would appear, really belong to a class different from that of quality.
In the course of the social and harmonious evening just mentioned, one of the captain's men, who happened to be something of a virtuoso in his way, and fond of collecting curiosities, produced a small skin, a great rarity in the eyes of men conversant in peltries.
'The Man with the Iron Mask' was, no doubt, a rarity and a marvel in his own age: in modern London no one would turn his head to give him a second look!
After eleven months wandering in the wilderness, a great part of the time over trackless wastes, where the sight of a savage wigwam was a rarity, we may imagine the delight of the poor weatherbeaten travellers, at beholding the embryo establishment, with its magazines, habitations, and picketed bulwarks, seated on a high point of land, dominating a beautiful little bay, in which was a trim-built shallop riding quietly at anchor.
He was surprised to find this young woman--who though but a milkmaid had just that touch of rarity about her which might make her the envied of her housemates--shaping such sad imaginings.
There are plenty of lazy people and plenty of slow-coaches, but a genuine idler is a rarity. He is not a man who slouches about with his hands in his pockets.