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I am looking for an adjective that says "which are very few to begin with" to fill the blank in the following sentence:

When I was writing a story on __ female astronomers at Pitt for our school newspaper, these female astronomers said that many of their women students are always skeptical about their ability to do math, which eventually prevented them from considering having a serious career in astronomy and physics.

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    Not a single word, but you could reasonably replace __ in your example with something like the precious few. Or more colloquially / whimsically, use rare-as-hen's-teeth adjectivally. – FumbleFingers Apr 9 '16 at 20:02
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"hard-to-find" seems to fit.

When I was writing a story on hard-to-find female astronomers at Pitt for our school newspaper...

  • hard - "requiring great effort or endurance: a hard assignment, performed with or marked by great diligence or energy
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Scarcity:

  • insufficiency or shortness of supply; dearth.

(Dictionary.com)

  • ...on the scarcity of female astronomers..
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    I see nothing wrong with this answer. +1 – Jim Apr 9 '16 at 19:23
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    I am looking for an adjective that can replace the clause "which are very scarce to begin with". – Joshua Yip Apr 9 '16 at 19:37
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    @JoshuaYip - I think that if you use a noun the sentence sounds more natural. – user66974 Apr 9 '16 at 19:42
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paucity

paucity1
1. Smallness of number; fewness.
2. Scarcity; dearth: a paucity of natural resources.

"I am writing a story on the paucity of female astronomers..."


1 American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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