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definition of the word dearth

by the Wiktionnary

First attested in 1596. From Middle English derþe, probably from Old English *dierþu; corresponding to dear + -th.



dearth (plural dearths)

  1. A period or condition when food is rare and hence expensive; famine.
    • 1608, William Shakespeare, King Lear:
      I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily: as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
  2. (by extension) Scarcity; a lack or short supply.
  3. (obsolete, rare) Dearness; the quality of being rare or costly.

Definition from Wiktionary
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