[ durth ]
/ dɜrθ /


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

Nearby words

  1. dearborn, fort,
  2. dearborn, henry,
  3. dearest,
  4. dearly,
  5. dearterialization,
  6. deary,
  7. deasil,
  8. death,
  9. death adder,
  10. death and taxes, certain as

Origin of dearth

First recorded in 1200–50, dearth is from the Middle English word derthe. See dear1, -th1

Can be confuseddearth plethoradearth death Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dearth

British Dictionary definitions for dearth


/ (dɜːθ) /


an inadequate amount, esp of food; scarcity

Word Origin for dearth

C13: derthe, from dēr dear

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

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