Main definitions of rare in English

: rare1rare2

rare1

adjective

  • 1(of an event, situation, or condition) not occurring very often.

    ‘a rare genetic disorder’
    with infinitive ‘it's rare to see a house so little altered’
    • ‘These events are so rare that it's hard to find direct evidence of them on earth.’
    • ‘I think you can get depression off the drug, although I still think it is a very rare event.’
    • ‘The rescue of Bulgarian Jews represents a rare event in the history of the civilised world.’
    • ‘But the event also offers a rare chance to put some of the town's most caring people into the spotlight.’
    • ‘Live Aid was a stadium concert held at a time when giant outdoor events were rare.’
    • ‘This very rare condition stops the nerve fibres from sending a signal to the brain.’
    • ‘They donated Vicki's heart for research so that experts can learn more about the rare condition.’
    • ‘I think part of it was that staying up to midnight was a rare event, an exciting exception to our daily life.’
    • ‘Either way, they are a rare event round here lately, so that makes them a big deal.’
    • ‘She was diagnosed with a rare condition that inflamed her liver at just six weeks old.’
    • ‘It is a very rare condition in Samantha's age group and she is one of only a few teenagers in the country to have it.’
    • ‘The condition is rare and is caused by the inheritance of an abnormal gene from an affected parent.’
    • ‘Ben's condition is so rare that only 33 people in the world have ever been diagnosed with it.’
    • ‘The condition is so rare it only affects a handful of women in the world each year.’
    • ‘Nine months later, the nation witnesses the rare situation of having no ruling party.’
    • ‘The best that most of us can do is to live with it, enjoy it and be thankful it is such a rare event.’
    • ‘Soon they would know far more than they ever wanted to about a rare condition called tuberous sclerosis.’
    • ‘In this day and age, it's a rare event due to the stormwater engineering in our cities.’
    • ‘Olivia suffers from two rare conditions which severely restrict almost everything she does.’
    • ‘It also gives them a rare opportunity to meet recent graduates in a relaxed environment.’
    infrequent, few and far between, scarce, sparse, scattered, thin on the ground, golden, like gold dust, as scarce as hen's teeth
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    1. 1.1 (of a thing) not found in large numbers and so of interest or value.
      ‘one of Britain's rarest birds, the honey buzzard’
      • ‘They were studying a cluster of rhododendrons on the Azalea Lawn when they came across the rare plant.’
      • ‘Thieves will jump the fence more easily and take away some of the rare plants.’
      • ‘Other rare British birds are also under threat as the turbines proliferate.’
      • ‘The locally and regionally important grassland nature reserve is home to a range of rare insects and plants.’
      • ‘They revel in observing rare plants and animals and some groups even book hunting trips.’
      • ‘Kent saw large numbers of common birds and higher than normal counts of scarce and rare wintering birds.’
      • ‘But it was a rare drug, a plant extract imported from South America at great expense.’
      • ‘Young people with more than a normal interest in Botany might try to remember the names of rare species.’
      • ‘They are too rare and valuable a bird to be hawked about with the rest of your menagerie.’
      • ‘At that time, many people showed a keen interest in studying rare animals and birds.’
      • ‘Daniel George plants rare peanut trees in Keen Street to replace the golden rain trees.’
      • ‘Sometimes he goes to watch birds in the suburban marshes, where more rare species can be found.’
      • ‘Ituri is a rare ecosystem possessing plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth.’
      • ‘The plants were rare in the valley itself, although they were profuse on the hillsides.’
      • ‘These trees will help to provide shelter and food for birds including the rare black grouse.’
      • ‘Yet the site is also home to rare mammals such as water voles and rare plants such as pepper saxifrage.’
      • ‘A lone pair of marsh warblers, an extremely rare and tiny bird, has also bred at the centre.’
      • ‘These are mature lakes of great beauty, often the haunt of rare animals and birds.’
      • ‘Security has been reviewed at Manchester Museum after three rare coins were stolen from a display case.’
      • ‘Students were lucky to spot rare species of plants, giant squirrels and wild mushrooms.’
      unusual, uncommon, unfamiliar, out of the ordinary, atypical, singular, remarkable, recherché, special, precious
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Unusually good or remarkable.
      ‘he plays with rare sensitivity’
      • ‘For the most part, though, the game is still in a position of rare strength.’
      • ‘For the rare or unusual gift, a trip round the antique or second-hand shops and a little imagination is all you need.’
      • ‘Artistically, it is a rare and precious gem that demands careful examination.’
      • ‘To be able to take a stand like he did is rare and precious thing in politics.’
      exceptional, outstanding, unparalleled, peerless, matchless, unique, unequalled, incomparable, unrivalled, inimitable, beyond compare, beyond comparison, without equal, second to none, unsurpassed, surpassing, exquisite, superb, consummate, superior, superlative, first-class, first-rate, special, choice, excellent, very fine
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘widely spaced, infrequent’): from Latin rarus.

Pronunciation

rare

/rɛː/

Main definitions of rare in English

: rare1rare2

rare2

adjective

  • (of meat, especially beef) lightly cooked, so that the inside is still red.

    ‘rare roast beef’
    ‘Stephen likes his steak rare’
    • ‘The meat was cooked medium rare as ordered, and was tasty and delicious.’
    • ‘Patty was so mad because she had ordered a well done steak only to get one that was very red and rare.’
    • ‘It is the sort of place I might take my grandfather for a rare steak and a bottle of Chateau Neuf de Pape.’
    • ‘For this salad, the sirloin needs to be medium rare to rare, so it is sufficient just to sear the meat on both sides.’
    • ‘My comrade saw the perverse and absurd side of life and was happy to laugh along with it over a nice rare steak and a beer.’
    • ‘Top with slices of rare roast beef, then lettuce leaves, then tomato slices.’
    • ‘Why does everything else pale in comparison to the rich, glistening red of a rare filet mignon?’
    • ‘A rare steak is returned by a customer who wants it better done.’
    • ‘The meat was tasty and cooked perfectly to my medium rare specification.’
    • ‘This was sent back to the kitchen as the rare steak was overcooked and the sauce was burnt.’
    • ‘To them, it tastes as good as medium rare steak.’
    • ‘The steak could have been more tender if we had asked for it to be medium rare, which would have been better.’
    • ‘Why should I be obliged to trade my rare steak for some fool's chicken Kiev?’
    • ‘We'll be cooking a steak rare on our barbeque and washing it down with some Chablis..’
    • ‘In another fragment he recommends hare, cooked rare, for a similar occasion.’
    • ‘The spicy beef was rare and served with green mango and coriander, but lacked any real zing.’

Origin

Late 18th century: variant of obsolete rear ‘half-cooked’ (used to refer to soft-boiled eggs, from the mid 17th to mid 19th centuries).

Pronunciation

rare

/rɛː/