sparse (adj.) Look up sparse at Dictionary.com
1727, from Latin sparsus "scattered," past participle of spargere "to scatter, spread," from PIE root *(s)preg- (2) "to jerk, scatter" (cognates: Sanskrit parjanya- "rain, rain god," Avestan fra-sparega "branch, twig," literally "that which is jerked off a tree," Old Norse freknur "freckles," Swedish dialectal sprygg "brisk, active," Lithuanian sprogti "shoot, bud," Old Irish arg "a drop"). The word is found earlier in English as a verb, "to scatter abroad" (16c.). Related: Sparsely; sparseness.