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

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 The song is a litany of problems and preoccupations rife with feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and self-doubt. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Those feelings of inadequacy and frustration, for the kids out back making a porno, spell trouble. Jake Coyle, Chron, 16 Mar. 2022 Just like oversharing on the internet, Ukrainians might conclude, Western non-diplomacy sprang from deep-seated narcissism and a need for validation, a compensation for feelings of inadequacy. James Harkin, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 But now, after two years of unrelenting stress, turmoil and grief, many people seeking help are confronting a system at or beyond capacity, its inadequacy for this moment plainly exposed. Lenny Bernstein, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Mar. 2022 But if LinkedIn is causing a feeling of inadequacy, as other social networks often do, there are ways to conquer the FOMO. Julie Jargon, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2022 That competitive fun is mixed with a sense of inadequacy. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 21 Dec. 2021 The inadequacy — and, often, outright manipulation and politicization — of public language and official narratives has a profound human cost. Susan Dominus Photographs By Joshua Kissi Styled By Ian Bradley Sasha Weiss Photographs By Collier Schorr Styled By Jay Massacret Megan O’grady Portrait By Mickalene Thomas And Racquel Chevremont Ligaya Mishan Photographs By Tina Barney, New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 But lately, the field’s inadequacy in the face of a mounting problem has struck her as particularly stark. Isobel Whitcomb, Scientific American, 19 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of inadequacy

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of inadequacy was in 1787

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inadequacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on inadequacy

Nglish: Translation of inadequacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inadequacy for Arabic Speakers


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