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

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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

Chang also pushed back on the idea that trade deficits weren't as big of a deal as Trump was making them out to be. Fox News, "China expert Gordon Chang praises Trump's tariffs: 'The Chinese are now doing things which smell desperate'," 10 Aug. 2019 American officials complain that a weak yuan gives Chinese exporters an unfair price edge in foreign markets and helps swell the massive U.S. trade deficit with China. Joe Mcdonald, Twin Cities, "Lashing back, China lets yuan drop, halts US farm purchases," 5 Aug. 2019 Butafter more than a year of the most aggressive use of tariffs by an American president since Herbert Hoover, the trade deficit continues to widen. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s new China tariffs take aim at heart of the U.S. economy: Consumers," 3 Aug. 2019 To Trump, in a practical sense, that amounts to a focus on reducing bilateral trade deficits. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Elizabeth Warren’s vision for changing America’s trade policy, explained," 29 July 2019 Trump slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods last year in response to a trade deficit and allegations of intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices as the world’s two largest economies seek to negotiate a sweeping trade deal. Time, "Apple Moved Mac Pro Production to China. Now it Wants Tariff Exemptions," 23 July 2019 China’s exports to the U.S. dropped too, but only by 8%, springing the U.S. trade deficit on goods to $30 billion. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "China’s Economy Slows But Its Surplus Grows: CEO Daily," 20 July 2019 Even so, the nation's trade deficit has continued to grow under his watch, widening to a decade-long high of $621 billion in 2018. Kevin Freking, chicagotribune.com, "Trump boosts made-in-USA purchasing requirement for federal agencies," 15 July 2019 But the trade deficit persists and the U.S. economy still prospers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Why Vietnam Loves Donald Trump," 10 July 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.

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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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Statistics for deficit

Last Updated

19 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deficit

The first known use of deficit was in 1782

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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

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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

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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

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