in·​ad·​e·​qua·​cy | \ (ˌ)i-ˈna-di-kwə-sē How to pronounce inadequacy (audio) \
plural inadequacies

Definition of inadequacy

1 : the quality or state of being inadequate

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of inadequacy in a Sentence

the inadequacy of our servings was soon apparent, as hungry guests started clamoring for seconds tried to blame others in order to hide the inadequacy of his leadership

Recent Examples on the Web

Xanadu is shrunk in an instant to a stub of ugly woodland, the paucity and inadequacy of reality exposed in the horror of its dullness. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The Spectacular P. T. Barnum," 19 July 2019 Shopping for stuff distracts from feelings of dissatisfaction, inadequacy, or anxiety. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie,, "Why we shop and shop and shop," 21 June 2019 Authoritarians require enemies to blame for their inadequacies, and to distract their base from their diminishing quality of life. Anna Lind-guzik, Vox, "I’m a Jewish historian. Yes, we should call border detention centers “concentration camps.”," 20 June 2019 This sense of inadequacy leads us to give others’ credit for our brilliance, shy away from higher profile projects, and accept initial offers at new jobs. Kara Stevens, Essence, "Black Women’s Pay Day Is Today. Be Mad And Get Money, Sis," 22 Aug. 2019 The Spartan legend trades on our deep-seated sense of inadequacy. Myke Cole, The New Republic, "The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer," 1 Aug. 2019 But Trump is wrong to politicize the inadequacy of paper straws as a replacement. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "Donald Trump’s latest weapon in the culture wars: a red plastic straw," 20 July 2019 In fact, pretending that any degree of pain is abnormal or pathological will only foster feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Rafael Euba, Quartzy, "Why striving for happiness makes people miserable," 23 July 2019 City officials and observers said the water outage highlighted the importance — and inadequacy — of the Fiveash Regional Water Treatment Plant, which supplies most of the city’s drinking water. Brittany Wallman,, "Fort Lauderdale water plant ‘kept together by spit and chewing gum’," 20 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inadequacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of inadequacy

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inadequacy

Statistics for inadequacy

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inadequacy

The first known use of inadequacy was in 1787

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inadequacy


in·​ad·​e·​qua·​cy | \ i-ˈna-di-kwə-sē How to pronounce inadequacy (audio) \
plural inadequacies

Kids Definition of inadequacy

: the condition of being not enough or not good enough Parents criticized the inadequacy of safety measures.


in·​ad·​e·​qua·​cy | \ (ˈ)in-ˈad-i-kwə-sē How to pronounce inadequacy (audio) \
plural inadequacies

Medical Definition of inadequacy

: the quality or state of being inadequate

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on inadequacy

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


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!