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

Example Sentences

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 Jordan said the cancellations weren’t caused by inadequate staffing either. Dallas News, 26 Jan. 2023 Efficiencies in staff can translate to higher earnings at a facility but inadequate staffing can result in inferior patient outcomes, academic research shows, including higher mortality rates. Gretchen Morgenson, NBC News, 12 Jan. 2023 Nationwide, parents lost a total of $8.3 billion in wages due to inadequate child care, according to a 2016 study. Samantha Masunagastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2023 This motley crew was part of a menagerie of nearly 80 animals moved from a roadside zoo in Western Maryland after two lawsuits and a court settlement involving allegations that they’d been kept in poor conditions and given inadequate care. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2022 In a lawsuit filed in Chancery Court in Nashville, inmate Henry Hodges accused the state of providing inadequate medical and mental health care. Travis Loller, ajc, 17 Dec. 2022 Kids in mental health crises face a nearly universal set of problems, including underfunded programs, waitlists for services, constant staff turnover and inadequate care. Abigail Kramer, ProPublica, 10 Dec. 2022 Any signs of restrictions lifting in the capital of the Henan province have been dismissed as performative by locals who have been grappling with violent enforcement, inadequate health care, and mental stress. Quartz, 2 Nov. 2022 Fields is also known for her advocacy around cancer and inadequate health care for indigenous populations. Sanya Mansoor, Time, 15 Oct. 2022 See More

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

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 6 Feb. 2023.

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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