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

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 The gap was even more severe for transgender people of color, who were six times as likely to experience food insufficiency as cisgender white adults. Celina Tebor, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022 According to the study, food insufficiency fell by over 40%, financial instability fell by 45%, and adverse mental health symptoms fell by 20%. Malaika Jabali, Essence, 9 Dec. 2021 The credit has already contributed to a drop in the child poverty rate and in food insufficiency among families with children. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 15 Dec. 2021 Respiratory insufficiency is not just Covid-related: the World Health Organization estimates that over 400 million people globally are affected. Carrie Rubinstein, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 There are several conditions that can cause exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2021 For the last few years, Kanye West — perhaps tired of the insufficiency of the album, or music-making in general — has been seeking increasingly grand canvases for his various projects. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021 As the years have gone by and other nations have joined the United States and Russia in space, and as astronautic technologies have become vastly more sophisticated, the insufficiency of the Outer Space Treaty has become a significant danger. Rachel Riederer, Harper's Magazine, 26 Oct. 2021 There were also fears about the human papillomavirus or HPV vaccine and risks of infertility in the US -- fears stoked by rumors the vaccine somehow caused a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency. Maggie Fox, CNN, 1 Nov. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of insufficiency

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for insufficiency

Time Traveler

The first known use of insufficiency was in 1526

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Insufficiency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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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 insufficiency (audio) \ adjective
insufficient blood flow to the brain

More from Merriam-Webster on insufficiency

Nglish: Translation of insufficiency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insufficiency for Arabic Speakers


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