What word should pair with paucity when paucity is being decreased?

For example, if there is a paucity of food and new supply has arrived, would it be a correct usage to say

"New supply has decreased the paucity of food".

"Reduce" as an alternative to "decrease" has crossed my mind. Google didn't help much.

3 Answers 3


"New supply has decreased paucity"

is awkward, and potentially unclear, and at least arguably incorrect.

One could write

The new supply has decreased the paucity of food.

However, that is a somewhat stilted expression. Better would be

The new supply has decreased the shortage of food.

or alternatively

The food is no longer in as short a supply, with the new arrival.


The food is now more plentiful than it was.

I would not use paucity when describing a change in the level, but only to describe a static condition of shortage.

One might say

There has been a paucity of food since the drought.


There is a paucity of registered socialists in the US Congress.

  • I am trying to construct a sentence with the word "paucity" in it. I contrived that example to try and convey what I am trying to say, I am unsure whether "decrease paucity" is idiomatic or not. "The new supply has decreased the shortage of food." a similar sentence with the paucity instead of shortage would be helpful. Perhaps a better sentence not related to my example but with the word "paucity"
    – eefar
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 20:24
  • @eefar see my edited answer. I would not use "decrease paucity" in any sentence. Nor "increase paucity" either Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:09

If I had to use the word paucity to describe this situation I’d probably say something like

There is no longer a paucity of food since the new supply came in.

I agree with @David Siegel that the word is best used to describe the state of there being a shortage or scarcity, not a change in the amount. A paucity cannot be decreased, it just is. It’s similar to the noun lack. You would probably not say

The new supply has decreased the lack of food.

That just sounds awkward. One might also wonder why you wouldn’t just use language to describe what is increasing (since this is the real “action”) like

The new supply has increased the amount of food.


The state of there being a small amount of something.

  • The paucity of food has caused a resupply panic.
  • The paucity of food in the region is problematic.
  • The paucity of his words is astounding.

paucity is not decrease or diminish. It simply means "little of something".

Paucity cannot be decreased. It already denotes scarcity of something.

  • while not technically incorrect, i would not advise "reduced its paucity." even nin this construction. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:38
  • I would not use the construction "reduce the paucity of knowledge". It is a form of double negative, and it may be technically correct, but I think it is awkward and poor writing. How is it better than a more positive formation? Or if you want to emphasize the previous lack, then I would use 'cure" or "ameliorate" or "moderate" or "help" as the verb rather than 'reduce" Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:51
  • " Will the government further abdicate its responsibility and reduce the paucity of resources currently devoted to enforcing the Fair Housing Act?" I would call that poor writing and pretentious. How about "Will the government .. reduce the already inadequate resources currently devoted to ..." That makes the point more clearly in my view. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:53
  • I don't object to the phrase "paucity of knowledge", I do object to "reduce the paucity of knowledge" and think it is poor writing, and if Ms Sarah Boslaugh wrote that, then I think she wrote poorly in that instance. Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 2:11
  • Avoiding this construct would be more reasonable i suppose. @DavidSiegel suggested a few verbs, "mitigate" and "decline" might be useful
    – eefar
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 6:02

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