Definition of seldom in English:



  • Not often; rarely.

    ‘Islay is seldom visited by tourists’
    ‘he was seldom absent’
    [in combination] ‘an old seldom-used church’
    • ‘I have seldom been so moved by the reconciliation of the lovers, human and fairy.’
    • ‘Rivalry also bred lack of trust; allies seldom if ever trust each other entirely.’
    • ‘He's seldom been out of the country before on an official trip, a serious resume flaw.’
    • ‘However, they seldom if ever attach themselves to an argument which has not already been won.’
    • ‘Neighbours said they seldom saw the couple and that the daughters seldom visited them.’
    • ‘Those who do not do well during those years seldom if ever catch up with the rest of the population.’
    • ‘The world's poorest nations seldom get the chance to frighten the super-rich.’
    • ‘Rarely is a stenographer present, so there is seldom any record of the proceedings.’
    • ‘They were not sterile, that much we know, and I suspect they were seldom clean-brushed.’
    • ‘It was also a chance to simply hear these great old songs live - a chance that people seldom had.’
    • ‘The needs and priorities of the people at the grassroot level are seldom taken into account.’
    • ‘Trite stereotypes aside, folk artists seldom get the coverage they deserve.’
    • ‘He denied that the material was unsuitable and claimed children seldom enter the petrol station shop.’
    • ‘His meetings were since then a must for me, and he very seldom disappointed in his approach.’
    • ‘It was a very controlled and contained piece, the dancers seldom moving from outside a small circle of light.’
    • ‘The small, nondescript moth is seldom noticed as it flies in the evening.’
    • ‘The actors seldom move: they are like tortured figures on a frieze in a besieged acropolis.’
    • ‘Even the rows and rows of new motels seldom offer a lounge where one can catch a band.’
    • ‘An eclectic palette of samples etched out paths seldom visited in accessible forms.’
    • ‘These days Brown seldom grants interviews, confining most communications to his website.’
    rarely, infrequently, on rare occasions, hardly ever, scarcely ever, hardly, scarcely, almost never, only now and then, not often, only occasionally, sporadically
    once in a blue moon
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  • [attributive] Not common; infrequent.

    ‘a great but seldom pleasure’


Old English seldan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zelden and German selten, from a base meaning strange, wonderful.