from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A scarce supply; a lack: "the dearth of uncensored, firsthand information about the war” ( Richard Zoglin).
- n. Shortage of food; famine.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. this sense?) A period or condition when food is rare and hence expensive; famine.
- n. Scarcity; a lack or short supply.
- n. Dearness; the quality of being rare or costly.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Scarcity which renders dear; want; lack; specifically, lack of food on account of failure of crops; famine.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Dearness; costliness; high price.
- n. A condition of dearness or costliness from scarcity; hence, failure of production or supply; famine from failure or loss of crops.
- n. Absence; lack; barrenness; poverty: as, a dearth of love; a dearth of honest men.
- n. Synonyms Famine, etc. See scarcity.
- To cause a dearth or scarcity in; hence, to raise the price of.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an acute insufficiency
- n. an insufficient quantity or number
Middle English derthe, from Old English *dēorthu, costliness, from dēore, costly; see dear1.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested at least as early as the late 1400s, and appearing in Tyndale's Pentateuch (1530) as well as the Coverdale Bible (1535). From Middle English derþe, probably from Old English *dīerþ, *dīerþu, from Proto-Germanic *diuriþō (“costliness, preciousness, honour”), corresponding to dear + -th. Cognate with West Frisian djoerte ("love, dearness, value, worth"), Dutch duurte ("dearness; scarcity, dearth"), Icelandic dýrð ("honour, glory"). (Wiktionary)