\ 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 Right now, Republicans lack a credible big-name challenger with the money to drive attacks against the billionaire Pritzker, the Tribune’s Pearson, Petrella and Ruthhart write in a different story. Lisa Donovan,, 4 June 2021 But in the impoverished countryside, many people lack smartphones to receive basic information or communicate with healthcare workers. Russ Mitchell Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 Many businesses lack any form of presentation for their products or services. Yec, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Most markets already lack sufficient competition among health care providers, and employers can rarely command the size and scale to counterbalance providers’ market power. Robert Galvin, Fortune, 1 June 2021 Many neighborhoods lack drinkable water, trash pickup and functioning sewers. Shauna N Gillooly, The Conversation, 27 May 2021 Hundreds of Palestinian communities lack running water. Ciara Nugent, Time, 26 May 2021 Comparatively speaking, the books coming out of American Girl today lack the charm and adventure of the originals. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 23 May 2021 Six hospitals and 11 health-care clinics were damaged, and nearly half the territory’s more than 2 million residents lack reliable access to clean water because desalination plants have stopped functioning. Washington Post, 22 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last summer was also dry, and farmers and their supporters held a tractor convoy to protest the lack of water and the Bureau of Reclamation’s allocation decisions. Anna V. Smith, Wired, 5 June 2021 But the defense said very little was clear in this case, including the lack of a motive for the deadly assault. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 June 2021 Many people will take the lack of evidence to itself be a form of evidence, which proves nothing. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 5 June 2021 The most striking part of this news was the utter lack of emotion that greeted it. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 5 June 2021 Ford has even provided the option to turn on a (relatively subtle) fake engine noise for those ruing the lack of a V8 under the hood. James Morris, Forbes, 5 June 2021 The lack of housing has separated families and left businesses scrambling for employees., 5 June 2021 That plus the lack of food created awful conditions for the animals, Rose said. Washington Post, 5 June 2021 Children are hungry and sick; people live lives of physical and intellectual poverty, and lack of opportunity; some new pollution may indeed do us all in. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 5 June 2021

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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Learn More About lack

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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for lack



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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