Check out new words added to


[durth] /dɜrθ/
an inadequate supply; scarcity; lack:
There is a dearth of good engineers.
scarcity and dearness of food; famine.
Origin of dearth
1200-50; Middle English derthe. See dear1, -th1
Can be confused
dearth, plethora.
dearth, death.
1. shortage, want, paucity, insufficiency.
1. abundance, plenty, sufficiency; surplus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for dearth
  • 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.
  • Ordinarily, a dearth of literary quality combined with an inept prose style would be a sure-fire formula for commercial success.
  • There's no dearth of material and the contributors assess their subject from every imaginable angle.
  • Faults in performance do not necessarily signify a dearth of skills or abilities, social scientists have found.
  • Manhattan has a dearth of public swimming pools, though there are quite a few privately owned ones.
  • There is no dearth of action and physical suspense here, rendered in terse, heart-stopping prose.
  • Such a dearth of achievement leaves a biographer at a considerable disadvantage.
British Dictionary definitions for dearth


an inadequate amount, esp of food; scarcity
Word Origin
C13: derthe, from dērdear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dearth

mid-13c., derthe "scarcity" (originally used of famines, when food was costly because scarce; extended to other situations of scarcity from early 14c.), abstract noun formed from root of Old English deore "precious, costly" (see dear) + abstract noun suffix -th (2). Common Germanic formation, though not always with the same sense (cf. Old Saxon diurtha "splendor, glory, love," Middle Dutch dierte, Dutch duurte, Old High German tiurida "glory").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
dearth in the Bible

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dearth

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dearth

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dearth

Nearby words for dearth