an inadequate supply; scarcity; lack: There is a dearth of good engineers.
scarcity and dearness of food; famine.

1200–50; Middle English derthe. See dear1, -th1

1. dearth, plethora ; 2. dearth, death.

1. shortage, want, paucity, insufficiency.

1. abundance, plenty, sufficiency; surplus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dearth (dɜːθ)
an inadequate amount, esp of food; scarcity
[C13: derthe, from dērdear]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c., derthe "scarcity," abstract n. formed from root of O.E. deore "precious, costly" (see dear). Originally used of famines, when food was costly because scarce.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Dearth definition

a scarcity of provisions (1 Kings 17). There were frequent dearths in Palestine. In the days of Abram there was a "famine in the land" (Gen. 12:10), so also in the days of Jacob (47:4, 13). We read also of dearths in the time of the judges (Ruth 1:1), and of the kings (2 Sam. 21:1; 1 Kings 18:2; 2 Kings 4:38; 8:1). In New Testament times there was an extensive famine in Palestine (Acts 11:28) in the fourth year of the reign of the emperor Claudius (A.D. 44 and 45).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
This dearth of valid arguments is why those in the "immigration
  enforcement" camp are often accused of xenophobia.
Despite the apparent dearth of titles, hitting the target audience has not
  always proven to be easy in this niche market.
The problem isn't a dearth of fish, it's an abundance of people.
Given the author's creativity and output, there is no dearth of material.
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