- (context, obsolete, rare) dearness, Dearness; the quality of being rare or costly.
- A period or condition when food is rare and hence expensive; famine.
Etymology: Middle English deríe, probably from Old English ; corresponding to dear + -th.
- 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, , 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.
- (context, by extension) scarcity, Scarcity; a lack or short supply.
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Full Definition of dearth