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

Definition of inadequacy 

1 : the quality or state of being inadequate

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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

Over the years, the decision’s laughable constitutional inadequacy has been widely recognized. James Freeman, WSJ, "Amy Coney Barrett and the Left’s Loudest Dogma," 9 July 2018 The inadequacy of the lone emergency exit for 67 frightened, desperate people. The Courier-Journal, "Archives: 1988 reports on bus safety after the Carrollton crash," 14 May 2018 In recent days, the portrait of presidential inadequacy that should have been clear from the very first moment that orange hurricane of hair descended the Trump Tower escalators in June 2015 has now come into full, horrifying focus. Will Bunch,, "Actually, the most insane thing about 'stable genius' Trump may be his policies | Will Bunch," 7 Jan. 2018 The tragedy rocked the political establishment and provoked a national conversation about fire-safety enforcement, the inadequacies of Britain’s public housing, and London’s haves and have-nots. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "‘Trapped like a cat in a cage’: London’s Grenfell Tower survivors look back on the deadliest fire in modern British history," 13 June 2018 But at its most persuasive, First Person is an aria on the necessity of self-invention, on the faults of memory and the inadequacy of all language. William Giraldi,, "Richard Flanagan's 'First Person': A ghostwriter who fights lies with lies," 6 Apr. 2018 And when Georgia smothered the Crimson Tide in the first half, holding Bama to 94 total yards and four first downs on 24 plays, the inadequacies seemed to have been exposed. George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Nick Saban's bold move — turn to Tua Tagovailoa — pays off," 9 Jan. 2018 Aster wants the horror to generate from that feeling of a family breaking down, centered on a matriarch (Annie) who’s beset by her own inadequacies and failures. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Close-to-Home Horror of Hereditary," 7 June 2018 An audacious thing for a woman to do, it was made more acceptable by her emphasis on her own unworthiness — a tactic used by talented women throughout history, claiming inadequacy while proving the opposite. Sarah Dunant, New York Times, "Who Was Vittoria Colonna? Just One of Italy’s Great Poets...," 1 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of inadequacy

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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22 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for inadequacy

The first known use of inadequacy was in 1787

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More Definitions for inadequacy


in·​ad·​e·​qua·​cy | \i-ˈna-di-kwə-sē \
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 \
plural inadequacies

Medical Definition of inadequacy 

: the quality or state of being inadequate

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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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