dearth

noun
\ ˈdərth How to pronounce dearth (audio) \

Definition of dearth

1 : scarcity that makes dear specifically : famine
2 : an inadequate supply : lack a dearth of evidence

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Where does the word dearth come from?

The facts about the history of the word dearth are quite simple: the word derives from the Middle English form "derthe," which has the same meaning as our modern term. That Middle English form is assumed to have developed from an Old English form that was probably spelled "dierth" and was related to "dēore," the Old English form that gave us the word dear. ("Dear" also once meant "scarce," but that sense of the word is now obsolete.) Some form of "dearth" has been used to describe things that are in short supply since at least the 13th century, when it often referred to a shortage of food.

Examples of dearth in a Sentence

It may also be a respite for booksellers, who have been grumbling for several years about sluggish sales and a dearth of dependable blockbuster fiction. — Julie Bosman, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2006 … Earnhardt has recently hinted that a company-wide dearth of talent is the core reason his Chevy simply isn't as fast in 2005 as it's been in the past. — Lars Anderson, Sports Illustrated, 11 Apr. 2006 AirNet, which hauls bank checks and other time-critical freight, used to require that its pilots have at least 1,200 hours of flight experience. Then, faced with a dearth of experienced applicants, it dropped the requirement to 500 hours. Now, it has no minimum. — Scott McCartney, Wall Street Journal, 10 Aug. 2000 there was a dearth of usable firewood at the campsite the dearth of salesclerks at the shoe store annoyed us
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Recent Examples on the Web

The dearth of science is a common theme with wildfire smoke. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "Wildfire Smoke Is Here to Stay," 5 June 2019 The low-code approach was important, Mr. Caplan said, because a dearth of talent is one of the biggest obstacles in launching and scaling blockchain projects. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Salesforce Rolls Out Blockchain Builder for Noncoders," 29 May 2019 Why does Argentina have such a dearth of defenders? Rory Smith, New York Times, "How Argentina Lost Its Way. (Spoiler: It’s Not Messi’s Fault.)," 22 June 2018 While predicting which Madrid side will turn up this season has been a fools errand, their creative firepower in the face of such a dearth of defensive options should be enough to earn them a win. SI.com, "Real Madrid Faces Tough Clash at Valencia Amid Season Crisis," 26 Jan. 2018 Another challenge is the dearth of qualified individuals willing to take the job. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "White House Digs In for Chief of Staff Hunt," 10 Dec. 2018 Both New York City and Washington, DC, are currently suffering from a dearth of affordable housing. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon HQ2: New York City and Arlington, Virginia, selected, reports say," 6 Nov. 2018 Still, Bernstein and Turban write that, up until now, there has been a dearth of data on how employee behaviors change in these boundless, despised work spaces. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%," 13 July 2018 But your body will react to the dearth of fuel in various ways. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Skipping Meals: What Happens When You're Not Eating Enough," 4 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dearth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dearth

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dearth

Middle English derthe, from Old English *dierth, from dēore dear

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Dictionary Entries near dearth

dearling

dearly

dearness allowance

dearth

deary

deas

deash

Statistics for dearth

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for dearth

The first known use of dearth was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for dearth

dearth

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dearth

formal : the state or condition of not having enough of something

dearth

noun
\ ˈdərth How to pronounce dearth (audio) \

Kids Definition of dearth

: scarcity, lack There was a dearth of news.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dearth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dearth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dearth

Spanish Central: Translation of dearth

Nglish: Translation of dearth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dearth for Arabic Speakers

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