dep·​ri·​va·​tion | \ˌde-prə-ˈvā-shən also ˌdē-ˌprī- \

Definition of deprivation 

1 : the state of being kept from possessing, enjoying, or using something : the state of being deprived : privation especially : removal from an office, dignity, or benefice

2 : an act or instance of withholding or taking something away from someone or something : an act or instance of depriving : loss overcoming the deprivations of their childhoods the hazards of oxygen deprivation

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Synonyms for deprivation


loss, privation

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Examples of deprivation in a Sentence

She is studying the effects of sleep deprivation. She eventually overcame the deprivations of her childhood.

Recent Examples on the Web

No one deserves to be forced onto the rollercoaster of deprivation and guilt. Abby Langer, SELF, "How to Deal With the Holidays When You’re Anxious About Food," 20 Nov. 2018 But for the vast majority of others, long-term sleep deprivation is a serious threat to well-being. Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, "If Trump is as healthy as his doctor says, he’s beating long odds," 7 Mar. 2018 Research backs him up: A study published in the journal Sleep found that even one night of sleep deprivation made patients more vulnerable to heat loss. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Cold?," 16 Oct. 2018 Even the study of parental deprivation has been ethically fraught. Benedict Carey, New York Times, "A Troubling Prognosis for Migrant Children in Detention: ‘The Earlier They’re Out, the Better’," 18 June 2018 The other children were eating their snacks and chasing one another around the classroom, as the teacher threatened them with time-outs and other forms of deprivation. Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker, "Without Inspection," 7 May 2018 For example: Trump reversed protected status that had been granted to those who’d fled natural disasters or other deprivations from places like El Salvador (estimated range from 57,000 to 200,000 people) and Haiti (59,000 people). Will Bunch,, "Can Trump's slow-motion ethnic cleansing keep whites in U.S. majority? | Will Bunch," 12 July 2018 As contemporary art museums go, this is one of the very best in the U.S. A highlight, for me, was a tiny dose of what’s known to drive some people mad — sensory deprivation. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New England museums to visit this summer and fall," 4 July 2018 The River North spot has five float suites, including three wave cabins that look like mini pools, a float pod, super wave cabin with extra space and Samadhi Tank for the ultimate sensory deprivation experience. Sadé Carpenter, RedEye Chicago, "Time for R&R: 6 ways to relax and unwind in and near Chicago," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deprivation.' 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 deprivation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deprivation

see deprive

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Statistics for deprivation

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for deprivation

The first known use of deprivation was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of deprivation

: the state of not having something that people need : the state of being deprived of something


de·​pri·​va·​tion | \ˌde-prə-ˈvā-shən, ˌdē-ˌprī-\

Kids Definition of deprivation

1 : a taking or keeping away a deprivation of rights

2 : the state of having something taken away sleep deprivation


de·​pri·​va·​tion | \ˌdep-rə-ˈvā-shən, ˌdē-ˌprī- \

Medical Definition of deprivation 

: the act or process of removing or the condition resulting from removal of something normally present and usually essential for mental or physical well-being his nervous system may have been affected by early oxygen deprivation— Jack Fincher sleep deprivation

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Comments on deprivation

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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