deficit

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Haiti won its group with a surprising comeback win over Costa Rica and rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to beat Canada, 3-2, to reach its first Gold Cup semifinals. John Marshall, BostonGlobe.com, "Mexico earns Gold Cup final berth by ending Haiti’s magical run," 3 July 2019 West Boynton rallied from a five-run deficit and had a 7-6 walk-off win against Delray National to stave off elimination. Alex Kushel, sun-sentinel.com, "West Boynton Little League takes home hardware," 3 July 2019 Clear Springs suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the regional quarterfinals when George Ranch rallied from a two-set deficit to end the Lady Chargers’ season. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Volleyball: Clear Springs eyes another deep playoff run," 26 June 2019 With his left leg propped up in an elevated position, Okeke cheered on his teammates, who rallied from a 35-30 halftime deficit for a 77-71 victory. Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Who is Chuma Okeke, the Magic’s first-round pick? For one, beloved by his teammates," 21 June 2019 Seidel: Tigers prospect Jose Azocar may be the best hitter in farm system Cleveland rallied from a 5-2 deficit after Trevor Bauer was pulled without retiring a batter in the fifth, his shortest outing of the season. Detroit Free Press, "Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers bullpen falter in 7-6 loss to Indians," 21 June 2019 Three runs scored against Gerardo Reyes in the seventh put the Rockies back up six, but the Padres could not become just the second team in major league history to come back from a seven-run deficit in consecutive games. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Machado, Green ejected; Padres lose to Rockies," 16 June 2019 LeBron James and Kyrie Irving helped the Cavs come back from a 3-1 deficit and stun a Warriors squad that set the NBA's regular season record for wins. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Warriors' Stephen Curry has struggled in closing 20 seconds during NBA playoffs," 14 June 2019 Boston rebounded from a 3–2 series deficit with a rousing Game 6 win in St. Louis on Sunday. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Bruins vs. Blues Game 7 Live Stream: Watch Stanley Cup Final Online, TV," 12 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deficit

Statistics for deficit

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deficit

The first known use of deficit was in 1782

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deficit

deficit

noun

Financial Definition of deficit

What It Is

A deficit occurs when expenses exceed revenues, imports exceed exports, or liabilities exceed assets. A deficit is the opposite of a surplus.

How It Works

Fiscal deficits occur when an entity's (usually a government) expenditures exceed its revenue. A government usually borrows money to fill the gap or "fund the deficit." Most governments finance their debt by selling government bonds.

Trade deficits (also called current account deficits) occur when a country imports more than it exports. The difference between exports and imports is called net exports.

Why It Matters

Deficits are controversial. The famous economist John Maynard Keynes argued that fiscal deficits stimulated economies by allowing governments to purchase goods and services and were thus particularly useful for getting countries out of recessions. However, many scholars argue that governments should not incur fiscal deficits regularly because the cost to service the debt takes away from government spending that could be better used elsewhere.

Meanwhile, supporters of trade deficits say they are the direct result of global competition. Thus, the deficits exists because consumers are making a choice to buy foreign goods whether it be because of a difference in quality, price, or any other reason. Opponents of large trade deficits believe the deficit provides jobs to foreign countries instead of creating them at home, thus hurting the domestic economy.

Source: Investing Answers

deficit

noun

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

deficit

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

Kids Definition of deficit

: a shortage especially in money

Keep scrolling for more

deficit

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on deficit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deficit

Spanish Central: Translation of deficit

Nglish: Translation of deficit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deficit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deficit

What made you want to look up deficit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!