1 of 2


lacked; lacking; lacks

intransitive verb

: to be deficient or missing
time is lacking for a full explanation
: to be short or have need of something
he will not lack for advisers
The area does not lack for good restaurants.

transitive verb

: to stand in need of : suffer from the absence or deficiency of
lack the necessities of life
She lacked confidence.


2 of 2


: the fact or state of being wanting or deficient
a lack of evidence
: something that is lacking or is needed

Examples of lack in a Sentence

Verb His book lacks any coherent structure. They lack a good strategy for winning the election. This painting lacks any artistic value. She has never been accused of lacking confidence. Many of these people lack the basic necessities of life. Noun The problem is a lack of money. She has been suffering from a lack of sleep lately. Her problem is lack of sleep.
Recent Examples on the Web
Practice gratitude Envy can draw our attention to everything that’s lacking in our lives. Juli Fraga, Washington Post, 14 July 2024 The Eo lacks the 5-megapixel front camera of the InkNoteX but does come with an 8-megapixel rear camera. New Atlas, 12 July 2024
The lack of electricity and hot temperatures forced some residents to seek refuge in their cars as others packed into the homes of relatives or slept in cooling centers. Thao Nguyen, USA TODAY, 15 July 2024 But the lack of answers, more than 10 months later, has roiled the rural community where Noah lived and fueled speculation online. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 14 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for lack 

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English lak; akin to Middle Dutch lak lack, Old Norse lakr defective

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lack was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near lack

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to be missing
: to need, want, or be short of
lacks money


2 of 2 noun
: the fact or state of being absent or in short supply
: something that is lacking or is needed

More from Merriam-Webster on lack

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