adjective ad·e·quate \ ˈa-di-kwət \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of adequate

1 :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.
2 :lawfully and reasonably sufficient
  • adequate grounds for a lawsuit





Examples of adequate in a Sentence

  1. 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 YeagerBicyclingJanuary/February 2008
  2. … they are adequate for almost any computing need. —Michael MeyerNewsweek26 Oct. 1998
  3. … the government would have to bail out any bidder with less adequate resources … The Economist30 Aug.-5 Sept. 1986
  4. The garden hasn't been getting adequate water.

  5. The food was more than adequate for the six of us.

  6. The school lunch should be adequate to meet the nutritional needs of growing children.

  7. The machine does an adequate job.

  8. The tent should provide adequate protection from the elements.

  9. The quality of his work was perfectly adequate.

  10. Your grades are adequate but I think you can do better.

  11. The quality of his work was only adequate.

Recent Examples of adequate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adequate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of adequate

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

adequate Synonyms

acceptable, all right, decent, fairish, fine, good, OK (or okay), passable, respectable, satisfactory, serviceable, tolerable, up to snuff
deficient, inadequate, insufficient, lacking, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, wanting
Related Words
agreeable, bearable, endurable, sufferable; average, fair, indifferent, mediocre, middling, minimal; common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, run-of-the-mine (or run-of-mine), second-rate, so-so; standard, unexceptional; appropriate, correct, due, fitting, meet, proper, right, seemly, suitable, useful, worthy; gratifying, satisfying
Near Antonyms
disagreeable, disreputable, improper, indecent, objectionable, unfit, unsuitable, unworthy, useless, wrong; bad, cheap, defective, faulty, imperfect, incomplete, lamentable, pitiful, shoddy; dissatisfying; insufficient, meager (or meagre), mean, miserly, niggardly, poor, scanty, shabby, short, skimpy, spare, stingy; insufferable, intolerable, unbearable, unendurable; atrocious, execrable, miserable, vile, wretched; exceptional, exquisite, extreme, fancy, first-class, high-grade, matchless, maximized, maximum, optimal, optimum, peerless, preeminent, premium, special, supreme, unmatched, unparalleled; A1, bang-up, banner, boss [slang], capital, classic, crackerjack, dandy, divine, fabulous, fine, first-rate, grand, great, groovy, heavenly, jim-dandy, keen, marvelous (or marvellous), mean, neat, nifty, noble, par excellence, prime, sensational, splendid, stellar, sterling, superb, superior, superlative, supernal, swell, terrific, tip-top, top, top-notch, unsurpassed, wonderful

Synonym Discussion of 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

ADEQUATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of adequate for English Language Learners

  • : enough for some need or requirement

  • : good enough : of a quality that is good or acceptable : of a quality that is acceptable but not better than acceptable

ADEQUATE Defined for Kids


adjective ad·e·quate \ ˈa-di-kwət \

Definition of adequate for Students

1 :1enough
  • Be sure you have adequate time to get ready.
2 :good enough
  • The lunch provides adequate nutrition.



Law Dictionary


adjective ad·e·quate

legal Definition of adequate

:lawfully and reasonably sufficient
  • adequate grounds for a lawsuit

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to praise usually to excess

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