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[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. 2017.
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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
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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
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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
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