in·​ad·​e·​quate | \ (ˌ)i-ˈna-di-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio) \

Definition of inadequate

: not adequate : not enough or good enough : insufficient inadequate equipment also : not capable was inadequate as a leader

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Other Words from inadequate

inadequately adverb
inadequateness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for inadequate



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Ben Sullivan, the association’s management agent, sent a letter to Mayor Pam Bobst, noting that with a larger building, there would be more units and that parking spaces in the area are already inadequate. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 12 Oct. 2021 Infrastructure lies in disrepair and healthcare, education and electricity are inadequate. Reuters, CNN, 12 Oct. 2021 Fans and the swamp cooler — a device that blows air over evaporating water — also proved to be inadequate for the heat. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 Last year, America’s data systems proved to be utterly inadequate for tracking a rapidly spreading virus. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 29 Sep. 2021 But his first results, published in the journal Science, in 2014, suggested that any concept of species was inadequate for capturing the reality of the crows’ evolution and, by extension, the complexity of the natural world. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2021 Their configuration was also inadequate for paratransit routes. David Showers, Arkansas Online, 19 July 2021 The 126-year-old tunnel is inadequate for modern freight capacity. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 Several residents also raised objections to the revised plan, citing concerns about the size of the building and arguing that the five additional parking spaces were inadequate for guests or residents who have more than one car. Jennifer Johnson,, 16 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of inadequate

1671, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inadequate

Time Traveler

The first known use of inadequate was in 1671

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Dictionary Entries Near inadequate



in a different league

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Statistics for inadequate

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inadequate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for inadequate



English Language Learners Definition of inadequate

: not enough or not good enough : not adequate


in·​ad·​e·​quate | \ i-ˈna-di-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio) \

Kids Definition of inadequate

: not enough or not good enough an inadequate supply an inadequate excuse


in·​ad·​e·​quate | \ -i-kwət How to pronounce inadequate (audio) \

Medical Definition of inadequate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not adequate : deficient an inadequate dose inadequate perfusion inadequate diets
2 : lacking the capacity for psychological maturity or adequate social adjustment an inadequate personality

Other Words from inadequate

inadequately adverb



Medical Definition of inadequate (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who is inadequate especially in terms of social adjustment

More from Merriam-Webster on inadequate

Nglish: Translation of inadequate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inadequate for Arabic Speakers


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