def·​i·​cit | \ ˈde-fə-sət How to pronounce deficit (audio) , British also di-ˈfi-sət or ˈdē-fə-sət \

Definition of deficit

1a(1) : deficiency in amount or quality a deficit in rainfall
(2) : a lack or impairment in an ability or functional capacity cognitive deficits a hearing deficit
b : disadvantage scored two runs to overcome a 2–1 deficit
2a : an excess of expenditure over revenue facing a deficit of $3 billion raise taxes to help reduce the budget deficit
b : a loss (see loss sense 4b) in business operations the year's operating deficit

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Examples of deficit in a Sentence

The government is facing a deficit of $3 billion. We will reduce the federal budget deficit. The team overcame a four-point deficit to win the game. She has a slight hearing deficit in her left ear.
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Recent Examples on the Web Tyra, in the U of L Athletic Association Board of Directors and Finance and Budget Committee meeting, said the department is headed toward a $10 million deficit benchmark and is in a much better spot than a year ago during the pandemic. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, 12 June 2021 Sales tax from commercial property and transient occupancy tax from hotels significantly dropped during the pandemic, leading to a $2.7 million deficit in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget adopted last year. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 June 2021 At that point a $23 million deficit was predicted by June 2025. Sue Kiesewetter, The Enquirer, 4 June 2021 The stadium, which was saddled with debt before the pandemic, is facing a $30 million deficit over the next five years, according to Darryl Dunn, CEO and General Manager of the Rose Bowl Operating Co. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 The fashion department was among the programs in jeopardy this spring as the institution sought to close a $35 million deficit through employee layoffs. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2021 The provides a sharp contrast from some years under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy when the state had a year-end deficit that was plugged by the rainy day fund. Christopher Keating,, 21 May 2021 Despite the revenue increase, the ACC reported a nearly $3 million annual operating deficit. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, 20 May 2021 In February, the city projected a $235 million deficit between 2021 and 2024; new estimates predict a $65 million surplus during this period. Washington Post, 19 May 2021

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

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First Known Use of deficit

1782, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for deficit

borrowed from French déficit, going back to Middle French, "item lacking in an inventory," borrowed from Latin dēficit "it is lacking," 3rd person singular present indicative of dēficere "to be lacking, run short, fail" — more at deficient

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Time Traveler for deficit

Time Traveler

The first known use of deficit was in 1782

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Statistics for deficit

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deficit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for deficit



English Language Learners Definition of deficit

: an amount (such as an amount of money) that is less than the amount that is needed
: the amount by which a person or team is behind in a game or contest
chiefly US : a problem that causes a decrease in some ability


def·​i·​cit | \ ˈde-fə-sət How to pronounce deficit (audio) \

Kids Definition of deficit

: a shortage especially in money


de·​fi·​cit | \ ˈdef-(ə-)sət; British also di-ˈfis-ət, ˈdē-fə-sət \

Medical Definition of deficit

: a deficiency of a substance a potassium deficit also : a lack or impairment of a functional capacity cognitive deficits


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