20 Synonyms for “Shortage”

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There’s no shortage of synonyms for shortage, and though many of the terms are close in meaning, the variety of connotations is sufficient to merit this list.

1. Crunch: a sudden shortage (informal)
2. Dearth: a shortage, especially one with dire and severe effects, such as one of food
3. Deficiency: a shortage, including one of nutritional substances such as vitamins
4-5. Drought (or drouth): a shortage of precipitation, especially one that damages or stunts crops, or a shortage of something customarily available
6. Failure: a lack of success, as in business or a competition, or an instance of coming up short
7. Famine: a significant shortage, especially of food
8-9. Inadequacy (or inadequateness): a case or quality of not having enough
10. Insufficiency: the quality of not having enough capacity or supply, or of being incompetent
11. Lack: a shortage or an instance of something missing or not available in the necessary amount
12. Lacuna: a shortage or gap
13. Paucity: a shortage of number or quantity
14. Pinch: a sudden shortage (informal); also, an emergency, or an instance of pressure or privation
15. Poverty: a shortage, especially of money or material goods, or such a state deliberately entered into (as by a monk who renounces ownership of worldly goods)
16. Scantiness: a shortage of what is expected or needed
17-18. Scarceness (or scarcity): a supply that amounts to less than the demand
19. Undersupply: a quantity that is less than required
20. Want: a shortage or a fault, or of being extreme poor; also, something wanted

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4 thoughts on “20 Synonyms for “Shortage””

  1. Hmmm…obviously there is no paucity of words for “shortage.” My question is, is “scanty” a word? Is not “scant” sufficient? (and is that a contradiction LOL) Can something be said to be scant, and can something be said to be scanty? Is there a difference?
    I have the same problem with dependence/dependency. Is “dependency” a word, and if so, how does it differ from dependence? I have heard some doctors use the expressions “oxygen dependence” or “drug dependence,” but others use “dependency.”

  2. Scantness is enuff … no need to say scantiness but yu can if yu want!

    @thebluebird11 …
    scant |skant|
    barely sufficient or adequate: companies with scant regard for the safety of future generations.
    • [ attrib.] barely amounting to a specified number or quantity: she weighed a scant two pounds.

    verb [ with obj. ]
    provide grudgingly or in insufficient amounts: he does not scant his attention to the later writings.
    • deal with inadequately; neglect: the press regularly scants a host of issues relating to safety and health.

    scanty |ˈskantē|
    adjective ( scantier , scantiest )
    small or insufficient in quantity or amount: scanty wages.
    • (of clothing) revealing; skimpy: the women looked cold in their scanty gowns.

    pluralnoun (scanties)
    brief underpants.

  3. Scanties?! That sounds like a portmanteau word LOL…scant+panties. Another word I need to remember…very useful.
    You are 100% correct on the scant/scanty issue. I see how “scanty” can be used as an adjective, as in “scanty clothing,” meaning skimpy or abbreviated clothing, which is not the same as “scant clothing,” meaning not enough clothing. For example, if someone had just had a fire in her house and she was left with scant clothing, I would take that to mean that most of her clothes were destroyed in the fire and she had almost no clothing left; it doesn’t necessarily mean that the clothing that was salvaged was scanty. OTOH, if she were left with scanty clothing, it means that all of her regular clothes were destroyed and all that was left was her Victoria’s Secret stash that was under the bed LOL 😉
    Now please clarify dependence/dependency!

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