de·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ di-ˈfi-shən-sē How to pronounce deficiency (audio) \
plural deficiencies

Definition of deficiency

1 : the quality or state of being defective or of lacking some necessary quality or element : the quality or state of being deficient : inadequacy suffers from a deficiency of critical thinking
2 : an amount that is lacking or inadequate : shortage staffing deficiencies : such as
a : a shortage of substances necessary to health a vitamin C deficiency hormone deficiencies
b genetics : deletion sense 2b(1)

Examples of deficiency in a Sentence

The disease may be caused by nutritional deficiencies. The book's major deficiency is its poor plot. a deficiency of vitamin C There are several deficiencies in his plan. The accident was caused by deficiencies in the engine.
Recent Examples on the Web The disease known as MCAD deficiency, which renders the body unable to convert certain fats to energy, once caused sudden death. Mark Johnson,, 29 Apr. 2022 Telogen effluvium is hair loss caused by high stress, surgeries or other internal issues like thyroid problems or vitamin D deficiency. Garrett Munce, Men's Health, 22 Apr. 2022 Nursing Home Inspect already lets the public, researchers and reporters search deficiency reports and other data across more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. Ruth Talbot, ProPublica, 21 Apr. 2022 What is simple is the bottom line: men are just as much at risk of having energy-deficiency issues as women, even if the symptoms aren’t as obvious. Richard A. Lovett, Outside Online, 29 Mar. 2022 The top Pac-12 schools will need to use the portal majorly on the lines to make up for the growing deficiency in elite offensive line and defensive line talent on the West Coast. Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Honda makes up for the engine-room deficiency with a secure, lively, and playful chassis that is a joy all the way up to the 0.97-g limit. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 21 Mar. 2022 Yet at the same time, the government accounts for a cumulative savings deficiency that is almost twice the size of the private‐sector surplus. Steve H. Hanke, National Review, 28 Feb. 2022 European regulators are reviewing Pyrukynd for PK deficiency, with a decision expected by the end of 2022. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of deficiency

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deficiency

defici(ent) entry 1 + -ency

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Time Traveler for deficiency

Time Traveler

The first known use of deficiency was in 1603

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Dictionary Entries Near deficiency



deficiency account

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Statistics for deficiency

Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deficiency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for deficiency


de·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ di-ˈfi-shən-sē How to pronounce deficiency (audio) \
plural deficiencies

Kids Definition of deficiency

: the condition of being without something necessary and especially something required for health a vitamin deficiency


de·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ di-ˈfish-ən-sē How to pronounce deficiency (audio) \
plural deficiencies

Medical Definition of deficiency

1 : a shortage of substances (as vitamins) necessary to health
2 : deletion


de·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ di-ˈfi-shən-sē How to pronounce deficiency (audio) \
plural deficiencies

Legal Definition of deficiency

: an amount that is lacking or inadequate: as
a : the difference between the amount of tax owed and the amount of tax paid
b : the difference between the amount owed under a security agreement and the amount the creditor is able to recover upon default of the debtor by selling the collateral

More from Merriam-Webster on deficiency

Nglish: Translation of deficiency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deficiency for Arabic Speakers


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