Dearth meaning

dûrth
Dearth is defined as a lack or small supply of something.

The convenience store with no healthy, fresh foods is an example of a dearth of produce.

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Any scarcity or lack.
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(obs.) Costliness; dearness.
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A scarce supply; a lack.
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Shortage of food; famine.
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A period or condition when food is rare and hence expensive; famine.
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(by extension) Scarcity; a lack or short supply.
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1660, Church of England, “In the time of dearth and famine.”, in The Book of Common Prayer, page 21.

O God,heavenly Father, whose gift it is that the rain doth fall, the earth is fruitfull, beasts increase, and fishes do multiply: behold, we beseech thee, the afflictions of thy people, and grant that the scarcity and dearth (which we do now most justly suffer for our iniquitie) may through thy goodness be mercifully turned into cheapness and plenty…

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1676, Thomas Comber, A Companion to the Temple: The litany, page 309.

The property of Contraries is, that they become one anothers Cure, whereupon we who have suffered by scarcity and dearth, do pray to be relieved by their contraries, cheapness and plenty.

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1826, Robert Graham, “Corn and Currency”, in , edition Second, with additions.

In Ireland, distress is greatest when provisions are cheapest; then we see famine without dearth; hunger amidst superabundance of provisions; farmers without a market; labourers without the means of purchase.

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Scarcity of food.
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Origin of dearth

  • Middle English derthe from Old English dēorthu costliness from dēore costly dear1

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th 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”).

    From Wiktionary