dep·​ri·​va·​tion | \ ˌde-prə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce deprivation (audio) also ˌdē-ˌprī- How to pronounce deprivation (audio) \

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

Sustaining long periods of torpor is tricky for mammals; the brain stops functioning at body temperatures below about 68 degrees Fahrenheit, sleep can't occur in an inactive brain, and long periods of sleep deprivation lead to death. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "It’s not just bears: These hibernating animals may surprise you," 7 Mar. 2019 For the rest of us insomniacs trying to get enough and totally failing, sleep deprivation is its own special form of anxiety-ridden, zombified torture. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "15 Things Only People With Insomnia Will Understand," 14 May 2019 The drawbacks of sleep deprivation aren’t just limited to next-day irritation and brain fog. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "9 Small but Impactful Health Habits to Lock Down in Your 20s," 19 Apr. 2019 Before you embark on a period of punishing deprivation, consider a former patient of mine who lost more than 10 pounds after going on a green-juice diet for the first two weeks of January. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet," 19 Dec. 2018 Sleep deprivation symptoms vary from person to person, so Layish advises people to analyze themselves using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Katie Parsons,, "Americans aren't sleeping enough, but early risers might live longer," 31 May 2018 Sensory deprivation Blindfolds are one easy way to explore this avenue. Kate Sloan, Glamour, "25 Sex Fantasies Women Have That Are Totally Normal," 6 Apr. 2019 Research has shown many links between long-term sleep deprivation and worsening mental and physical health. Sarah Wu, Teen Vogue, "Glamorizing Sleep Deprivation Ruined My Health in Every Way," 15 Mar. 2019 Not to mention deprivation can affect you in the moment, too, like with trouble concentrating, Hamilton says. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "8 Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist About Your Relationship With Food," 29 Jan. 2019

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

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for deprivation

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

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More Definitions for deprivation



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 How to pronounce deprivation (audio) , 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 How to pronounce deprivation (audio) , ˌdē-ˌprī- How to pronounce deprivation (audio) \

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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behavior toward others

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