a deficiency in quantity: a shortage of cash.
the amount of such deficiency.

1865–70; short + -age

preshortage, noun

1. lack, want, scarcity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shortage (ˈʃɔːtɪdʒ)
a deficiency or lack in the amount needed, expected, or due; deficit

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

shortage definition

A condition that exists when demand exceeds supply because of a lack of equilibrium in a market. If a price is artificially low, buyers want to buy more of a good than sellers are willing to sell. (Compare surplus.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Famine, water shortage and energy poverty not to mention wars caused by the
  above and lack of space.
The other hearts, however, have no shortage of bon mots.
But no such catastrophe has been definitively linked to the shortage.
It is also, however, exposing a long-term shortage of local university
  graduates fluent in the world's lingua franca.
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