Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one dearth or multiple dearths,
but we usually just say "a dearth of something.")
A dearth of something is a shortage of it: a too-small amount of it.
You use "dearth" (instead of "shortage") to talk about not having enough of a dear thing (a really important, really necessary thing). "Dearth" originally only described shortages of food, but now it can describe shortages of anything similar to food: you absolutely have to have it, and it's a desperate situation if you don't, or at least a very serious situation.
How to use it:
When you're being serious, talk about a dearth of job opportunities, a dearth of intelligent leaders, a dearth of community resources for the poor and aging, a dearth of women or people of color in certain professions, and so on.
When you're being less serious, talk about a dearth of good shows on television, a dearth of hot girls at this party, a dearth of good jokes in that movie, etc.
Classroom teachers these days are expected to work miracles with a dearth of resources.
Our island suffers from a dearth of authentic Mexican restaurants.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "dearth” means when you can explain it without saying “scarcity” or “lack."
Think of the last time you were surprised or shocked because something was missing or something was in too-short supply, and fill in the blanks: "I can't/couldn't believe the dearth of _____ in/at/on/when _____."
Example: "I can't believe the dearth of baby changing tables in public restrooms. How are these not considered as essential there as sinks?"
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the challenging, endlessly entertaining game; it's called Moot!
A Point Well Made:
Albert Einstein: "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
1. The opposite of DEARTH is
2. It's _____ to run a business or teach a class with a dearth of photocopiers and paper.
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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