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

In the study’s conclusion, Janus wrote: The early lives of all the subjects were marked by suffering, isolation, and feelings of deprivation. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "Learning to Be Funny," 9 July 2018 There’s a lot of down time, really long nights, and a lot of sleep deprivation. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Bekah Martinez on "The Bachelor," Social Media Bullying, and Hair Secrets," 27 June 2018 With Philadelphia being the most impoverished large American city, the effects of deprivation on its children — including pollakiuria — will continue unless there are strategic interventions to address poverty. Daniel R. Taylor,, "Medical Mystery: Kids who can't stop going," 1 June 2018 But most of all, perhaps, the rapid-cutting structure provides us with regular bursts of relief, steady distractions from the horrors of long-term deprivation — a relief that Oldham Ashcraft and Sharp, of course, were cruelly denied. Justin Chang,, "Shailene Woodley's performance powers the evasive shipwreck-survival drama 'Adrift'," 31 May 2018 Experts say the social and sensory deprivation of solitary can be even harder on youths, who aren’t as equipped to handle the stress. Ames Alexander, charlotteobserver, "Isolation left him 'forever torn up.' Critics urge Mecklenburg to end solitary confinement. | Charlotte Observer," 4 May 2018 Crimnal deprivation of rights by force is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Christine Dempsey,, "New London Police Officer Accused Of Assault Gets Probation," 3 May 2018 The Higher Power that turned sobriety into more than deprivation was simply not me. Leslie Jamison, Time, "When I Drank, I Knelt on the Bathroom Floor to Throw Up. When I Got Sober, I Did it to Pray," 4 Apr. 2018 Sleep deprivation is toxic to your health More: No, nothing comes for free. Jeff Stibel, USA TODAY, "The truth about shopper rewards. They're mostly a trick and rarely a treat," 12 Feb. 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

9 Sep 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

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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