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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web McIlroy rallies from a three-shot deficit at the turn, to shoot a 3-under 68 to beat Phil Mickelson by one stroke. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2022 The Orlando Pride came back from a one-goal deficit twice on Sunday night at Exploria Stadium in front of 4,904 fans to earn a 2-2 draw with Angel City FC, helping both sides stay right on the edge of the NWSL playoff race. Orlando Sentinel, 7 Aug. 2022 In the opener, which was a makeup of Wednesday’s rainout, the Cardinals rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 victory. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 Sabrina Ionescu scored 20 points, including New York’s final eight, and the host Liberty rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Los Angeles Sparks 64-61. ... Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Aug. 2022 The Pokers rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning with five runs to take the lead for good. Gary Curreri, Sun Sentinel, 29 July 2022 Jones caught four passes for 87 yards in Super Bowl LI, but Brady rallied the New England Patriots from a 25-point second-half deficit to a 34-28 overtime victory in the NFL championship game on Feb. 5, 2017. Mark Inabinett |, al, 27 July 2022 Brady and Jones previously squared off in Super Bowl 51, where the New England Patriots launched a historic comeback from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons. Cale Clinton, USA TODAY, 26 July 2022 The other Rodgers leaped into the air in front of a litany of Lions defenders and came down with a 61-yard pass on an untimed down that helped the Packers win a 27-23 shocker and fully complete the comeback from a 20-0 deficit. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 25 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near deficit

deficient number


deficit financing

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Statistics for deficit

Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deficit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for deficit


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

More from Merriam-Webster on deficit

Nglish: Translation of deficit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deficit for Arabic Speakers


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