Definition of rarefy in English:


(also rarify)


  • Make or become less dense or solid.

    with object ‘air rarefies and degrounds the physical body’
    no object ‘as the shell continues to expand and rarefy, astronomers may eventually be able to see characteristic gamma rays from the radioactivity within’
    • ‘I find that if I concentrate on the geometric shapes and unfocus to the point of occular agony they rarify into a twisting tunnel.’
    • ‘In the inner heartwood, these bodies were rarefying and cell walls became impregnated by a brown colour.’
    • ‘However, member countries are not likely to rarify agriculture's inclusion until key implementation issues are resolved.’
    • ‘‘Humidity means that the air density is rarified and so the available engine power is reduced as air entering the combustion chamber is reduced,’ says Binotto.’
    • ‘Thus began Cooper's serendipitous ascent into the more rarified air of the arts and crafts.’
    • ‘He noticed worriedly that the overcrowded pool area felt overly warm and thought that the air was rarified.’
    • ‘Law, it is well known, filters and rarefies the halo of horror and suffering surrounding crimes.’
    • ‘But more than anything yet seen in Moore's career, this film was made in the bubble and breathes truly rarified air.’
    • ‘In most cases, such concentrations of atoms are so rarefied that the chances of colliding are infinitesimal.’
    • ‘Changes in the game might have rarified some of old-time hockey's staple techniques, but what of the future?’
    • ‘Sound waves propagate through such materials by periodically compressing and rarefying the medium.’
    • ‘The White House press corps is the most rarefied of American journalistic beats.’
    • ‘Companies profit from collectors by creating limited editions of a particular item and releasing different versions of their products in different continents to rarify their commodities, thus increasing their value.’
    • ‘The air here isn't that rarified and most of us like to do other things as well.’
    • ‘It wasn't quite as rarefied as Royal Ascot, and the weather was dodgy to say the least, but it was still fun to go racing at Ayr.’
    • ‘Or it could rarify the nature of ritual objects, so that they must be of some degradable quality (such as the raw clay used in many Hindi rites).’
    • ‘In order to maintain value or currency, beauty/art must be exclusionary, standardized and rarified.’
    • ‘I know the air is pretty rarified in academia, but has the good professor considered taking an evening course in the university of life?’
    • ‘Well, it sounds like it, or at least the particularly rarified form of it practiced by the kind of names mentioned above.’
    • ‘It's one of those rarified treats when you are simply left reaching for words.’
    purify, clarify, clear, cleanse, strain, sift, filter, distil, concentrate, process, treat
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French rarefier, or medieval Latin rareficare, based on Latin rarus ‘rare’ + facere ‘make’.