in·​ad·​e·​quate | \(ˌ)i-ˈna-di-kwət \

Definition of inadequate 

: not adequate : 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


deficient, insufficient, lacking, low, scarce, short, shy, wanting


adequate, enough, sufficient

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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

First up is the loudspeaker, which sounds very nice on this phone, but is woefully inadequate in terms of volume. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 According to these recent papers, both are something close to fantasy: at best, uneconomical and entirely untested at scale, and, at worst, wholly inadequate to the job being asked of them. David Wallace-wells, Daily Intelligencer, "The Paris Climate Accords Are Looking More and More Like Fantasy," 25 Mar. 2018 When just going out to dinner feels woefully inadequateFew things are more romantic than jetting off on an exotic vacation with your love, but a full-on adventure may be more than you’ve got time (or budget) for at the moment. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Romantic Staycations Around L.A. for Couples Who Take Valentine’s Day Seriously," 29 Jan. 2018 The research institution blamed at least some of the cases on inadequate screening and health care access, noting that a third of women who gave birth to a baby with syphilis contracted the disease after doctors screened for it. Fox News, "Number of newborns born with syphilis doubles in 4 years, CDC reports," 27 Sep. 2018 Hadley Richardson was shelved away when her attentions toward him (and her trust fund) became inadequate after the birth of their son. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Hemingway’s Last Girl," 12 July 2018 The report states that an average of 200,000 Indian lives are lost every year due to inadequate supply or contamination of water. Swati Gupta, CNN, "India facing its worst water shortage in history, report says," 15 June 2018 An inadequate power supply also hampers production, leaving many who need limbs without them. Erin Cunningham And Hazem Balousha,, "Palestinian protesters are being shot in their legs by Israeli soldiers, and some face amputation," 28 Apr. 2018 But there’s an inadequate supply of farmworker housing. Kaitlin Bain, The Seattle Times, "Yakima effort aims to introduce temporary housing for farmworkers," 25 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inadequate

The first known use of inadequate was in 1671

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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 \

Kids Definition of inadequate

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


in·​ad·​e·​quate | \-i-kwət \

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

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Comments on inadequate

What made you want to look up inadequate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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