\ ˈlak How to pronounce lack (audio) \
lacked; lacking; lacks

Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to be deficient or missing time is lacking for a full explanation
2 : 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.



Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for lack

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The program, being offered by the NFHS Network, allows Alabama schools that currently lack sufficient production equipment to receive two receive two free automatic production units or Pixellot units. Ben Thomas |, al, "New AHSAA program could allow more HS teams to stream games, limit revenue losses," 8 July 2020 Their overrepresentation reflects generally excellent patient outcomes and a culture of avoiding procedures that lack scientific evidence of efficacy. Sharon Begley, STAT, "In a new hospital ranking, doing good counts nearly as much as doing well," 7 July 2020 Conversely, the figures should be higher in countries that lack oxygen tanks, ventilators, and dialysis machines, and where many people live far from hospitals. Donald G. Mcneil Jr.,, "Pandemic’s big mystery: How deadly is the coronavirus?," 4 July 2020 But regulatory hurdles and medicine's conservative culturelimited virtual checkups to largely minor conditions like sinus infections or unique circumstances such as connecting neurologists to rural hospitals that lack specialized care. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Telehealth called a 'silver lining' of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, it might stick," 3 July 2020 Heidi's Village, a nonprofit animal welfare organization that provides boarding and medical services for local shelters that lack space or resources for their animals, opened in April. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, "New animal shelter opens in Phoenix. Here's how rescue dogs, cats could benefit from it," 27 June 2020 The famous colleges that lack room for all who want to attend will provide other obstacles to bother us. Jay Mathews, Washington Post, "SAT and ACT may go, but other college application tortures will persist," 25 June 2020 When there are so many kids out there who lack support at home, there needs to be ways other than GSAs to keep them from feeling more isolated than before. Hannah Seo, Popular Science, "LGBTQ+ alliance groups can have a positive effect on entire student populations," 25 June 2020 Some scientists theorize that millions of years of this seasonal sprinkling of Saharan dust fed the cornucopia of corals encrusting the Bahamas, which are surrounded by waters that lack many of the nutrients required to create such an oasis. Sabrina Imbler, The Atlantic, "Saharan Dust Storms Are Giving Earth Life," 24 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This was not only a blow in economic terms, but also seen as a sign of Trump’s lack of interest in the region. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Under Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand pivots on how to deal with China," 6 July 2020 The impact of the lack of child care won't be evenly distributed, say economists and other experts. Heather Long, Anchorage Daily News, "The big factor holding back the U.S. economic recovery: Child care," 6 July 2020 Following the death of Mr. Khashoggi, who was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate general in Istanbul in October 2018, Turkish authorities have complained of a lack of cooperation from the kingdom, which refused to extradite... David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Khashoggi Murder Trial of 20 Saudis Begins in Turkish Court," 3 July 2020 Gilchrist disputed the claim of a lack of transparency. Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, "Former Eloy correctional officers blame negligence for huge COVID-19 outbreak," 1 July 2020 The survey's distribution, Witchey said, was interrupted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, which may account for some of the lack of diversity among respondents. Holly V. Hays, The Indianapolis Star, "Central Indiana LGBTQ community faces critical health care gaps, study finds," 30 June 2020 Then there’s the psychological impact of the lack of crowds. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Pandemic pricing: Are Mideast markets losing the art of the deal?," 30 June 2020 Chimezie Metu: Much like Eubanks, Metu could see his role expanded in Orlando in light of the Spurs’ lack of frontcourt depth. Jeff Mcdonald,, "For San Antonio Spurs, trip to Disney World is for the youngsters," 27 June 2020 There’s the problem of a lack of education for at least six months. The Atlantic, "Listen: The Ethical Calculus of Reopening," 27 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lack.' 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 lack


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lack

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for lack

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lack

Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for lack


How to pronounce lack (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to not have (something) : to not have enough of (something)



English Language Learners Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state or condition of not having any or enough of something : the state or condition of lacking something


\ ˈlak How to pronounce lack (audio) \
lacked; lacking

Kids Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be missing Something is lacking in the soup.
2 : to need or be without something I lack the necessary money.



Kids Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

: the fact or state of not having any or enough of something a lack of time

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More from Merriam-Webster on lack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lack

Spanish Central: Translation of lack

Nglish: Translation of lack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lack for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lack

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