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’
    • ‘Live Aid was a stadium concert held at a time when giant outdoor events were rare.’
    • ‘Soon they would know far more than they ever wanted to about a rare condition called tuberous sclerosis.’
    • ‘They donated Vicki's heart for research so that experts can learn more about the rare condition.’
    • ‘Olivia suffers from two rare conditions which severely restrict almost everything she does.’
    • ‘I think part of it was that staying up to midnight was a rare event, an exciting exception to our daily life.’
    • ‘The condition is rare and is caused by the inheritance of an abnormal gene from an affected parent.’
    • ‘The rescue of Bulgarian Jews represents a rare event in the history of the civilised world.’
    • ‘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 so rare it only affects a handful of women in the world each year.’
    • ‘The best that most of us can do is to live with it, enjoy it and be thankful it is such a rare event.’
    • ‘In this day and age, it's a rare event due to the stormwater engineering in our cities.’
    • ‘But the event also offers a rare chance to put some of the town's most caring people into the spotlight.’
    • ‘Ben's condition is so rare that only 33 people in the world have ever been diagnosed with it.’
    • ‘These events are so rare that it's hard to find direct evidence of them on earth.’
    • ‘Nine months later, the nation witnesses the rare situation of having no ruling party.’
    • ‘It also gives them a rare opportunity to meet recent graduates in a relaxed environment.’
    • ‘This very rare condition stops the nerve fibres from sending a signal to the brain.’
    • ‘I think you can get depression off the drug, although I still think it is a very rare event.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Daniel George plants rare peanut trees in Keen Street to replace the golden rain trees.’
      • ‘Ituri is a rare ecosystem possessing plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth.’
      • ‘They revel in observing rare plants and animals and some groups even book hunting trips.’
      • ‘Sometimes he goes to watch birds in the suburban marshes, where more rare species can be found.’
      • ‘The locally and regionally important grassland nature reserve is home to a range of rare insects and plants.’
      • ‘Thieves will jump the fence more easily and take away some of the rare plants.’
      • ‘Kent saw large numbers of common birds and higher than normal counts of scarce and rare wintering birds.’
      • ‘They are too rare and valuable a bird to be hawked about with the rest of your menagerie.’
      • ‘They were studying a cluster of rhododendrons on the Azalea Lawn when they came across the rare plant.’
      • ‘Yet the site is also home to rare mammals such as water voles and rare plants such as pepper saxifrage.’
      • ‘These trees will help to provide shelter and food for birds including the rare black grouse.’
      • ‘Young people with more than a normal interest in Botany might try to remember the names of rare species.’
      • ‘Other rare British birds are also under threat as the turbines proliferate.’
      • ‘These are mature lakes of great beauty, often the haunt of rare animals and birds.’
      • ‘A lone pair of marsh warblers, an extremely rare and tiny bird, has also bred at the centre.’
      • ‘The plants were rare in the valley itself, although they were profuse on the hillsides.’
      • ‘Students were lucky to spot rare species of plants, giant squirrels and wild mushrooms.’
      • ‘At that time, many people showed a keen interest in studying rare animals and birds.’
      • ‘But it was a rare drug, a plant extract imported from South America at great expense.’
      • ‘Security has been reviewed at Manchester Museum after three rare coins were stolen from a display case.’
      unusual, uncommon, unfamiliar, out of the ordinary, atypical, singular, remarkable, recherché, special, precious
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    2. 1.2 Unusually good or remarkable:
      ‘he plays with rare sensitivity’
      • ‘To be able to take a stand like he did is rare and precious thing in politics.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the most part, though, the game is still in a position of rare strength.’
      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.’
    • ‘The spicy beef was rare and served with green mango and coriander, but lacked any real zing.’
    • ‘To them, it tastes as good as medium rare steak.’
    • ‘In another fragment he recommends hare, cooked rare, for a similar occasion.’
    • ‘It is the sort of place I might take my grandfather for a rare steak and a bottle of Chateau Neuf de Pape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The steak could have been more tender if we had asked for it to be medium rare, which would have been better.’
    • ‘Top with slices of rare roast beef, then lettuce leaves, then tomato slices.’
    • ‘We'll be cooking a steak rare on our barbeque and washing it down with some Chablis..’
    • ‘For this salad, the sirloin needs to be medium rare to rare, so it is sufficient just to sear the meat on both sides.’
    • ‘Patty was so mad because she had ordered a well done steak only to get one that was very red and rare.’
    • ‘Why should I be obliged to trade my rare steak for some fool's chicken Kiev?’
    • ‘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.’

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/