short·​age | \ ˈshȯr-tij How to pronounce shortage (audio) \

Definition of shortage

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Examples of shortage in a Sentence

there was a troubling shortage of supplies for the troops overseas this year
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, Katherine Dunn delves into British cinema operators’ quest to reopen their doors and finds some theater owners are worried about a shortage of quality new films to bring in customers next month. David Meyer, Fortune, "The big question now is how to reopen," 25 June 2020 Globally, the number of infections is rising by about 1 million every week and the WHO is worried the surge could lead to a shortage of oxygen with many countries struggling to get oxygen-making machines. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, June 25," 25 June 2020 If not for a shortage of fuel, Mr. Wallace might have had a chance to race for the win. Jenna Fryer, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why racers are standing behind NASCAR's only Black driver," 23 June 2020 Early on in the pandemic, when little was known about the disease and officials were concerned about a shortage of supplies for healthcare workers, mask-wearing was actively discouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others. oregonlive, "Can mandated mask-wearing help stop the spread of coronavirus in Oregon?," 23 June 2020 Back in mid-March, when shelter-in-place began, hospitals denied testing to many patients — even those with telltale symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and shortness of breath — because of a severe shortage of tests nationwide. Catherine Ho,, "Coronavirus tests are easy to get now, but not always where people need them most," 22 June 2020 After the US Food and Drug Administration authorized its emergency use in hospitals and US President Trump talked about taking it prophylactically, countries and states hoarded the drug, leading to a global shortage. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Dexamethasone’s supply chain is the most exciting thing about it," 18 June 2020 Other groups had organized similar events to develop diagnostic tests and help with the shortage of medical equipment, so why not do the same for research? Maimuna S. Majumder, Wired, "Coronavirus Researchers Are Dismantling Science’s Ivory Tower—One Study at a Time," 18 June 2020 Many people with symptoms were discouraged from getting tests early on because of a shortage, and many people have died at home and not been counted. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 far more dangerous for patients with heart disease or diabetes, CDC says," 15 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shortage.' 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 shortage

1868, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for shortage

Time Traveler

The first known use of shortage was in 1868

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Statistics for shortage

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shortage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for shortage


How to pronounce shortage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shortage

: a state in which there is not enough of something that is needed


short·​age | \ ˈshȯr-tij How to pronounce shortage (audio) \

Kids Definition of shortage

: a condition in which there is not enough of something needed : deficit a water shortage

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