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 This recession could nearly quadruple the federal budget deficit this year, pushing it to a whopping $3.7 trillion, according to projections from April. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Unemployment rate won't recover for the next decade, CBO projects," 2 July 2020 Lawmakers also passed a law seeking to limit withdrawals from earnings, heightening tension between how much should be used on dividends and how much should go to state government as the deficit persists. Mark Thiessen, Anchorage Daily News, "This year’s PFD may be smaller, but it’s helping Alaskans pay the bills during COVID-19," 2 July 2020 The bill would add $450 billion to the federal deficit between 2020 and 2030, according to the CBO. oregonlive, "U.S. House approves massive infrastructure bill spearheaded by Oregon’s Peter DeFazio," 1 July 2020 Spring ISD passed its 2020-21 budget during a special meeting last Tuesday, the first deficit budget the district has passed in some time due to a pay increase, full-day prekindergarten and other projects. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, "Spring ISD passes deficit budget for employee raises, full-day pre-K," 26 June 2020 The expected deficit is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan athletics projects $26.1 million deficit in 2021 fiscal year," 25 June 2020 India’s fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio was already stretched at 4.6% due to a shortfall in revenue in the financial year 2020. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "Why India must borrow and spend wisely to counteract its Covid-19 slump," 25 June 2020 The link between a specific deficit and the ability to practice safely often depends on a physician’s specialty, said William Perry, a neuropsychologist and professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Lola Butcher, Quartz, "Doctors are suing over age-based screening requirements," 25 June 2020 Trout has already furloughed 147 nonunion employees and eliminated jobs held by deputy city manager Doug Gerber, neighborhood relations director Sasha Haehn and emergency management coordinator Jim Green to deal with the current year’s deficit. USA TODAY, "Unwanted masks, homeless count, pork processor cleared: News from around our 50 states," 25 June 2020

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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deficit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for deficit


How to pronounce deficit (audio)

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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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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