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 By contrast, failures in EDT implementations often stem from inadequate planning and ineffective change management processes. Robert Kramer, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 The Times also highlighted the company’s inadequate moderation attempts, noting that Meta responded to just one of the 50 reports the publication made regarding questionable content featuring children over a period of eight months. Jess Weatherbed, The Verge, 23 Feb. 2024 In addition, says Pierson, Boeing did an inadequate job fixing problems identified by frontline workers. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024 Primary care practices are charged with doing too much with limited resources and comparatively inadequate reimbursement. Jeffrey Millstein and Jeffrey Tokazewski, STAT, 22 Feb. 2024 San Diego officials abandoned a similar proposal two years ago because polling showed inadequate support. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Feb. 2024 Boomers with inadequate retirement savings could face decades of hardship Advocates for older Americans warn that late boomers with inadequate retirement savings could face decades of hardship: In a sense, their troubles are only beginning. Daniel De Visé, USA TODAY, 21 Feb. 2024 The five state pension systems are less than 45% funded after decades of inadequate contributions. Shruti Singh,, 21 Feb. 2024 Numerous other factors, from inadequate social care to an ageing population, are contributing to overburdened emergency rooms. Katherine Hignett, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 See More

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 3 Mar. 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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