Recorded as Dart, Darte, Darthe, Death, Dearth and possibly others, this is an English surname of two possible origins. The most likely is French as shown below, but recent research has also strongly indicated an English source which may have been "overlooked" in the past possibly because of its rather mordid conclusions. We believe that for many name holders it is of early medieval English origin, and one of a sizeable group of modern surnames that were created from a theatrical nickname. In this case it was for a person who played the part of a figurative representation of "Death" in the popular medieval mystery plays. Other such names that survive today are Angel and Life. The source is the Middle English word "deeth", meaning death. A second origin is French and locational from the place called "Ath", with the fused preposition "de", in Flanders. The surname from this source has a variety of forms not just in England including D'Eath, D'Eathe, De Ath, D'Aeth, De Att and De Atta. Early examples of the surname recording include the marriage of Alicia d'Atte and John Marshall at St. Andrew's, Enfield, Middlesex, on September 9th 1562, Henry D'arthe a witness at St Botolphs Bishopgate, in the city of London, on January 6th 1608, and Willam Dart, a witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on September 6th 1626. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gerardus de Athia. This was dated 1208, in the "Curia Regis" rolls of Gloucestershire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dearth — means lack, shortage or scarcity. It may also refer to: People Bill Dearth, (1947–2005) US actor David Dearth, bodybuilder with the World Bodybuilding Federation Doug Dearth, actor James Dearth, (born 1976), American football player John Wesley… …   Wikipedia

  • Dearth — Dearth, n. [OE. derthe, fr. dere. See {Dear}.] Scarcity which renders dear; want; lack; specifically, lack of food on account of failure of crops; famine. [1913 Webster] There came a dearth over all the land of Egypt. Acts vii. 11. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dearth — [dɜːθ ǁ dɜːrθ] noun [singular] a lack of something: • This is a critical time for small business, which faces a dearth of start up financing. opposite glut1 * * * dearth UK US /dɜːθ/ noun [S] ► a situation when there is not enough of something: » …   Financial and business terms

  • dearth — [də:θ US də:rθ] n [singular] [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: DEAR3 expensive (11 21 centuries)] a lack of something dearth of ▪ a dearth of job opportunities …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • dearth — [ dɜrθ ] noun singular FORMAL dearth of a situation in which there is not enough of something: LACK …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • dearth — rapidly extended its meaning from its 13c restriction to food, to refer to a scarcity of anything: • Unable to find what she needed in ‘romantic’ novels, Letty had turned to biographies, of which there was no dearth Barbara Pym, 1977. Dearths… …   Modern English usage

  • dearth — I noun absence, caritas, deficiency, destitution, exiguity, exiguousness, impoverishment, inadequacy, inadequateness, incompleteness, indigence, inopia, insufficiency, lack, leanness, littleness, meagerness, need, paucity, penuria, penury, pinch …   Law dictionary

  • dearth — mid 13c., derthe scarcity (originally used of famines, when food was costly because scarce; extended to other situations of scarcity from early 14c.), abstract noun formed from root of O.E. deore precious, costly (see DEAR (Cf. dear)) + TH (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • dearth — *lack, want, absence, defect, privation Analogous words: scarcity, infrequency, rareness, uncommonness (see corresponding adjectives at INFREQUENT): scantiness, meagerness, scantness (see corresponding adjectives at MEAGER) Antonyms: excess …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • dearth — [n] insufficiency, scarcity absence, default, defect, deficiency, exiguousness, famine, inadequacy, infrequency, lack, meagerness, miss, need, paucity, poverty, privation, rareness, scantiness, scantness, shortage, slim pickings*, sparsity,… …   New thesaurus

  • dearth — ► NOUN ▪ a scarcity or lack. ORIGIN originally in the sense «dearness and shortage of food»: from DEAR(Cf. ↑dearness) + TH(Cf. ↑ th) …   English terms dictionary

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