From Middle English rare, borrowed from Old French rare, rere (“rare, uncommon”), from Latin rārus (“loose, spaced apart, thin, infrequent”), from Proto-Indo-European *er(e)-, *rē- (“friable, thin”). Replaced native Middle English gesen (“rare, scarce”) (from Old English gǣsne), Middle English seld (“rare, uncommon”) (from Old English selden), and Middle English seldscene (“rare, rarely seen, infrequent”) (from Old English seldsēne; see seldsome).
rare (comparative rarer, superlative rarest)
- Very uncommon; scarce.
- (of a gas) Thin; of low density.
From a dialectal variant of rear, from Middle English rere, from Old English hrēr, hrēre (“not thoroughly cooked, underdone, lightly boiled”), from hrēran (“to move, shake, agitate”), from Proto-Germanic *hrōzijaną (“to stir”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱera-, *ḱrā- (“to mix, stir, cook”). Related to Old English hrōr (“stirring, busy, active, strong, brave”). More at rear.
rare (comparative rarer or more rare, superlative rarest or most rare)
- (cooking, particularly meats) Cooked very lightly, so the meat is still red (in the case of steak or beef in the general sense).
Variant of rear.
rare (third-person singular simple present rares, present participle raring, simple past and past participle rared)
- (US, intransitive) To rear, rise up, start backwards.
- (US, transitive) To rear, bring up, raise.
Compare rather, rath.
rare (comparative more rare, superlative most rare)
- (obsolete) early