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

Example Sentences

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 But officials only budgeted $30 million — far below all indications of demand — and stipulated all grants would be proportionally reduced if funding proved insufficient. Keith M. Phaneuf, Hartford Courant, 24 Nov. 2022 And Biden’s policy may yet prove insufficient to the task of reducing carbon pollution. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 11 Nov. 2022 Those rules for shortage management have proved insufficient to halt plunging storage levels. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 29 Oct. 2022 Donations, too, have proved utterly insufficient in this pandemic. Winnie Byanyima, STAT, 21 Oct. 2022 Some even worry this latest bailout might again prove insufficient. Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, 21 Sep. 2022 The studios issued a brief public response on the Aug. 10 deadline, which the now 1,500-strong coalition deemed insufficient in an Aug. 15 follow-up letter, asking for more specific points to be addressed by Labor Day. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022 Still, analysts, predict those measures will prove insufficient. Anton Troianovski,, 31 Aug. 2022 Critics of the Upper Colorado River Commission called that plan insufficient last month. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

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

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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
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