If something is scarce, there isn't much of it around. Crops are scarce after a long drought, or you might find babysitters scarce if your kids are a nightmare to watch.
Scarce, meaning “restricted in quantity,” can oddly be traced back to the same Latin word that spawned the word "excerpt." Use the word scarce when you want to say that something is hard to find or practically missing. When you know you’re about to be asked to do something unpleasant, like wash the dishes or take out the trash, go ahead and “make yourself scarce,” which means to be elusive or get out of there fast.