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(1)   Not widely distributed
"Rare herbs"
"Rare patches of green in the desert"
(2)   Not widely known; especially valued for its uncommonness
"A rare word"
"Rare books"
(3)   (of meat) cooked a short time; still red inside
"Rare roast beef"
(4)   Recurring only at long intervals
"A rare appearance"
"Total eclipses are rare events"
(5)   Marked by an uncommon quality; especially superlative or extreme of its kind
"What is so rare as a day in June"-J.R.Lowell
"A rare skill"
"An uncommon sense of humor"
"She was kind to an uncommon degree"
(6)   Having low density
"Rare gasses"
"Lightheaded from the rarefied mountain air"

Etymology 1

rare from rarus "loose, spaced apart, thin, infrequent". Replaced native gesen "rare, scarce" (from gǣsne), seld "rare, uncommon" (from selden), and seldsene "rare, rarely seen, infrequent" (from sialdsēnn).


  1. Very uncommon; scarce.
  2. Cooked very lightly, so the meat is still red (in the case of beef).


  1. To rear, rise up, start backwards.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 328:
      Frank pretended to rare back as if bedazzled, shielding his eyes with a forearm.
  2. To rear, bring up, raise.