ad·​e·​qua·​cy ˈa-di-kwə-sē How to pronounce adequacy (audio)
plural adequacies
: the quality or state of being adequate

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When we question the adequacy of health-care coverage, or parking facilities, or school funding, we're asking if they are equal to our need. The adjective adequate means "enough" or "acceptable"—though in sentences like "His performance was adequate", it really means "no better than acceptable".

Example Sentences

the fire department sent someone to determine the adequacy of the building's evacuation plan
Recent Examples on the Web This bridge period starts on the date the new deal takes effect and will last a maximum six months, or end as soon as the EU’s data adequacy decision has been finalized, which is expected to happen in early 2021. Fortune, 25 Dec. 2020 The task force would have a year from when the bill is passed to report its findings on the effectiveness and adequacy of creating a misdemeanor animal cruelty statute. Sam Drysdale,, 5 Apr. 2023 But candidates in the May 6 board election try to stress other issues — the district's bond construction program, the adequacy of its goals for student success and its need to retain teachers — while lamenting and sometimes blaming each other for the food-fight aspects of Judson politics. Elizabeth Sander, San Antonio Express-News, 3 Apr. 2023 Large banks also participate in annual stress tests performed by the Federal Reserve to measure their capital adequacy. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 13 Oct. 2022 Republican legislative leaders said lawmakers will consider increasing teacher pay during the 2023 regular session, starting Jan. 9, after the House and Senate education committees complete their biennial educational adequacy review this fall. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 10 Aug. 2022 The components of the CAMELS rating system include capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings components, risk of running low on cash and sensitivity to market risk. From Cnn's Krystal Hur, Nicole Goodkind And Allison Morrow, CNN, 28 Mar. 2023 The report makes clear that even public workers with strong benefits may fall short of achieving retirement income adequacy that meets their individual retirement needs. Dan Doonan, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 Hong Kong banks remain strong, the statement said, with capital adequacy and liquidity coverage ratios well above regulatory minimums. Matthew Thomas, WSJ, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adequacy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


adequ(ate) + -acy

First Known Use

1701, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of adequacy was in 1701

Dictionary Entries Near adequacy

Cite this Entry

“Adequacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


ad·​e·​qua·​cy ˈad-i-kwə-sē How to pronounce adequacy (audio)
plural adequacies
: the quality or state of being adequate

More from Merriam-Webster on adequacy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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