in·​suf·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfi-shən(t)-sē How to pronounce insufficiency (audio) \
plural insufficiencies

Definition of insufficiency

1 : the quality or state of being insufficient: such as
a : lack of mental or moral fitness : incompetence the insufficiency of this person for public office
b : lack of adequate supply insufficiency of provisions
c : lack of physical power or capacity especially : inability of an organ or body part to function normally renal insufficiency
2 : something that is insufficient or falls short of expectations

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of insufficiency in a Sentence

dealt with the school's insufficiency of art supplies by buying materials out of her own pocket her alleged insufficiency for the job

Recent Examples on the Web

Lawmakers of both parties have conceded its insufficiency to address the current array of national security threats but have been unable to muster the political support needed to replace it. NBC News, "Buttigieg vows to seek repeal of post-9/11 war powers resolution," 11 June 2019 Erratic rainfall has brought into sharp focus the insufficiency of alternative water harvesting systems, and residents across Tamil Nadu accuse the state government of water mismanagement. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "More than 500 arrested after protests and clashes as India water crisis worsens," 20 June 2019 Blumenthal is a co-sponsor of The Clean Energy for America Act which would address current insufficiencies in clean energy tax incentives by creating a simpler set of long-term, performance based incentives for investments in food waste recycling. Don Stacom,, "Southington plant turns food waste to energy, owners say there’s lot of expansion room," 17 June 2019 Last week, King County prosecutors opted against bringing felony voyeurism charges against McDaniels, citing legal insufficiency in the criminal case against him. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Second woman sues former Federal Way basketball star Jalen McDaniels over exploitative videos," 19 Dec. 2018 During the 1960 Democratic presidential primary, aides to Lyndon Johnson correctly reported that his opponent, John F. Kennedy, had adrenal insufficiency. David Steinberg,, "Should the president undergo independent medical evaluations?," 24 May 2018 No matter the underlying reason, premature ovarian insufficiency can lead to short, irregular, or completely MIA periods. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Long Does a Period Last, Normally?," 17 May 2018 Spokesman Zhang said the rise in defense spending is partly to compensate for past insufficiency in spending, and is mainly being used to upgrade equipment, improving the lives of servicemen and -women, and to improve training conditions for troops. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "China boosts defense budget seeking ‘world-class’ military, but tells neighbors not to worry," 5 Mar. 2018 Nearly fourth months ago, Boyd, who is from Baltimore, decided to spend 41 percent of her annual salary on surgery for Stanley, who was diagnosed with renal insufficiency in November 2016. Fox News, "Cat owner spends $19G on surgery for 17-year-old pet," 15 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of insufficiency

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insufficiency

Statistics for insufficiency

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insufficiency

The first known use of insufficiency was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for insufficiency


in·​suf·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfish-ən-sē How to pronounce insufficiency (audio) \
plural insufficiencies

Medical Definition of insufficiency

: the quality or state of not being sufficient: as
a : lack of adequate supply of something an insufficiency of vitamins
b : lack of physical power or capacity especially : inability of an organ or bodily part to function normally renal insufficiency pulmonary insufficiency

Other Words from insufficiency

insufficient \ -​ənt How to pronounce insufficient (audio) \ adjective
insufficient blood flow to the brain

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on insufficiency

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!