Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 8, 2020 is:

paucity • PAW-suh-tee  • noun

1 : smallness of number : fewness

2 : smallness of quantity : dearth


The manager overheard two customers complaining about the paucity of stylish designs in the store.

“But dire wolves, which were about 25 percent heavier than gray wolves, never flourished in Asia, Dr. Ni and his collaborators suggested, based on the paucity of fossils found there (this is the first).” — Katherine Kornei, The New York Times, 15 Oct. 2020

Did you know?

Here’s a little information about paucity: the word was first recorded in English in the 15th century, and it comes to us from the Latin paucitas (“smallness of number”), which is derived from the adjective paucus (“little”). The word’s origin informs its use; paucity can be used to refer to a littleness of numbers (as in “a paucity of facts/studies”) or quantity (“a paucity of evidence”), or one can use paucity when speaking of abstract concepts, as in “a paucity of experience/knowledge.”

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