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 The most formidable obstacle blocking climate activists from realizing their goal of a world powered by inefficient and inadequate (but sustainable) sources of electricity is the developing world’s desire to, well, develop. Noah Rothman, National Review, 13 June 2024 In Moffat County, which ended its work-release program well before the pandemic because of inadequate staffing, Sheriff KC Hume said he’s also noticed an overall shift away from jail time for minor crimes. Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post, 13 June 2024 Members of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists had geared up to go on strike in December, complaining that inadequate benefits had hampered recruitment and retention and driven up vacancy rates for crucial positions in county facilities, including for psychiatrists in its jails. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 It’s estimated that Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Price and Vilas counties lost millions of dollars in revenue due to inadequate snow to open the snowmobile and ski trails in December and January, according to a coalition of businesses in the region. Rick Barrett, Journal Sentinel, 11 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 21 Jun. 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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