If there is a dearth of something, there is not enough of it. A dearth of cupcakes is unfortunate, but a dearth of nutritious food is a serious problem.

Dearth is an Old English noun formed from the adjective deore, "precious, costly," and the noun-forming suffix -th. Though the relationship of dearth meaning "lack, insufficient amount" to the adjective dear is not so obvious, it is still easy to imagine that something precious is probably also in short supply. Dearth is used almost exclusively in the phrase "a dearth of."

Definitions of dearth
  1. noun
    an insufficient quantity or number
    synonyms: paucity
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    type of:
    scarceness, scarcity
    a small and inadequate amount
  2. noun
    an acute insufficiency
    synonyms: famine, shortage
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    type of:
    deficiency, lack, want
    the state of needing something that is absent or unavailable
Word Family