in·​suf·​fi·​cient ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce insufficient (audio)
: not sufficient : inadequate
insufficient funds
especially : lacking adequate power, capacity, or competence
insufficient bandwidth
insufficiently adverb

Examples of insufficient in a Sentence

The case was thrown out because of insufficient evidence. there's been an insufficient number of volunteers for the job, so I'll have to select someone
Recent Examples on the Web Until recently, military analysts saw Hanwha as a relic, its products insufficient for 21st century warfare. Eli Joseph, Fortune Asia, 6 June 2024 The fine for failing to file a form is $200, a figure that advocates of reforms say is insufficient to motivate full compliance. Deirdre Walsh, NPR, 6 June 2024 It’s estimated that at least 30% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, and many more are considered vitamin D insufficient (with blood vitamin D levels <30nmol/L). Sarah Anzlovar, Ms, Rd, Verywell Health, 4 June 2024 At times, when words seemed insufficient, Grey reached out to clasp Redmayne’s hand. Michael Paulson Dana Scruggs, New York Times, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for insufficient 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'insufficient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin insufficient-, insufficiens, from Latin in- + sufficient-, sufficiens sufficient

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of insufficient was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near insufficient

Cite this Entry

“Insufficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​suf·​fi·​cient ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfish-ənt How to pronounce insufficient (audio)
: not sufficient : inadequate
insufficiently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on insufficient

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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