ad·​e·​quate ˈa-di-kwət How to pronounce adequate (audio)
: sufficient for a specific need or requirement
adequate time
an amount of money adequate to supply their needs
also : good enough : of a quality that is good or acceptable
a machine that does an adequate job
: of a quality that is acceptable but not better than acceptable
Her first performance was merely adequate.
: lawfully and reasonably sufficient
adequate grounds for a lawsuit
adequateness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for adequate

sufficient, enough, adequate, competent mean being what is necessary or desirable.

sufficient suggests a close meeting of a need.

sufficient savings

enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient.

do you have enough food?

adequate may imply barely meeting a requirement.

the service was adequate

competent suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end.

had no competent notion of what was going on

Examples of adequate in a Sentence

Then, during the spring and summer, allow adequate recovery by taking one or two days off the bike each week and scaling back the intensity of your rides one week out of every month. Selene Yeager, Bicycling, January/February 2008
… they are adequate for almost any computing need. Michael Meyer, Newsweek, 26 Oct. 1998
… the government would have to bail out any bidder with less adequate resources … The Economist, 30 Aug.-5 Sept. 1986
The garden hasn't been getting adequate water. The food was more than adequate for the six of us. The school lunch should be adequate to meet the nutritional needs of growing children. The machine does an adequate job. The tent should provide adequate protection from the elements. The quality of his work was perfectly adequate. Your grades are adequate but I think you can do better. The quality of his work was only adequate.
Recent Examples on the Web Contorted with grief is not even an adequate description. Liz McNeil, Peoplemag, 10 July 2024 Communities across Arizona’s Second Congressional District, and for that matter all of rural Arizona, deserve adequate infrastructure development to help our communities catch up with metro areas. Laura Gersony, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2024 Without adequate conservation efforts and a dramatic slowing of climate change, these animals might become the very apparitions of the Arctic that the photographer depicts. Liz Lindqwister, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 July 2024 The city is also increasing Construction Engineering and Inspection services to provide greater on-site quality assurance and verify Ric-Man’s quality control procedures are adequate during future work. Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for adequate 

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

Word History


borrowed from Latin adaequātus, past participle of adaequāre "to equalize, put on an equal footing," from ad- ad- + aequāre "to make level, equalize" — more at equate

First Known Use

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of adequate was circa 1617

Dictionary Entries Near adequate

Cite this Entry

“Adequate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


ad·​e·​quate ˈad-i-kwət How to pronounce adequate (audio)
: suitable or enough for a requirement
food and water adequate for six people
: good enough
your grades are barely adequate
adequately adverb
adequateness noun

Legal Definition


: lawfully and reasonably sufficient
adequate grounds for a lawsuit

More from Merriam-Webster on adequate

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