in·​ad·​e·​quate (ˌ)i-ˈna-di-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio)
: not adequate : not enough or good enough : insufficient
inadequate equipment
also : not capable
was inadequate as a leader
inadequately adverb
inadequateness noun

Examples of inadequate in a Sentence

These supplies are inadequate to meet our needs. We were given very inadequate information. I felt inadequate to the task. Her brother's success and popularity always made her feel inadequate.
Recent Examples on the Web Similarly, inadequate or lack of play contradicts cats' biology and can lead to distress. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 July 2024 Police have been accused in the past of making inadequate safety arrangements for similar events. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 3 July 2024 One candidate who has taken difficult if inadequate policy steps in that direction is up against another candidate who denies the problem even exists. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2024 One significant concern is the inadequate education provided to participants regarding humane euthanasia methods. Brandon Rahe, Orlando Sentinel, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for inadequate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inadequate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1671, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inadequate was in 1671

Dictionary Entries Near inadequate

Cite this Entry

“Inadequate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​ad·​e·​quate (ˈ)in-ˈad-i-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio)
: not adequate : not enough or not good enough
an inadequate supply of food
inadequately adverb

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
in·​ad·​e·​quate -i-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio)
: not adequate : deficient
an inadequate dose
inadequate perfusion
inadequate diets
: lacking the capacity for psychological maturity or adequate social adjustment
an inadequate personality
inadequately adverb


2 of 2 noun
: one who is inadequate especially in terms of social adjustment

More from Merriam-Webster on inadequate

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