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 The Olympic team cut its deficit to 91-85 and had a chance to get closer, but Courtney Williams blocked A’ja Wilson’s shot with 1:15 left and the Olympians could get no closer. Doug Feinberg,, 15 July 2021 The left-handed reliever gave up a three-run homer to Jose Abreu in the ninth inning, allowing the White Sox to trim their deficit to one run. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 14 July 2021 Kia Nurse hit a 3-pointer for the Mercury, cutting their deficit to three, then Jewell Loyd made a contested trey with 1:36 left for the Storm. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 11 July 2021 Kansas City responded to its deficit by scoring six runs off the rookie righthander over his final two innings, and handing the Twins their fifth consecutive loss, 6-3 at Kauffman Stadium. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, 3 July 2021 The ratings company cited the dividend cut and proceeds Glaxo will gain from the demerger of the consumer arm, which could go toward reducing debt and funding its pension deficit. Fortune, 2 July 2021 But the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Canadiens their first 2-0 series deficit of the 2021 postseason after pulling off a 3-1 victory Wednesday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, 1 July 2021 Jackson did his part to help the Clippers stave off elimination and trim their series deficit to 3-2.. Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2021 The government has also suspended its previous practice of transferring 10% of total revenue to the FGF and, earlier this year, sought to withdraw some funds from it to help pay for its deficit. Dominic Dudley, Forbes, 25 June 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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Learn More About deficit

Time Traveler for deficit

Time Traveler

The first known use of deficit was in 1782

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Statistics for deficit

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deficit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 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

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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