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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
While my seat was a bit lacking in terms of storage when compared to some of the newest first-class offerings from major airlines, overhead bin space is generous for every passenger. Chris Dong, Travel + Leisure, 17 Sep. 2023 In Fresno and Buffalo, N.Y., some viewers would have lacked access to CBS’ coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders game. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 About 25% of Nova Scotia lacked power around midday Saturday. David Sharp,, 16 Sep. 2023 The ordinance governing the office lacks specifics on when and how Dallas police should share information with oversight. Kelli Smith, Dallas News, 15 Sep. 2023 In addition to lacking money to mount Artscape, BOPA also lacked staffing. Mary Carole McCauley, Baltimore Sun, 15 Sep. 2023 Educators lack noninstructional time built into their day to make the calls and write the texts—elementary-school teachers may have thirty-plus students, and high-school teachers may have a hundred or more. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 5 Sep. 2023 In doing so, the comics, who strongly identify with the striking writers, have given a public face to a guild that has traditionally lacked that kind of sizzle and star power when trying to drum up public sympathy for its cause. Brian Lowry, CNN, 5 Sep. 2023 Any extended absence would leave a hole in a Diamondbacks’ lineup that lacks impactful power bats. Theo MacKie, The Arizona Republic, 4 Sep. 2023
New York Times reporter David Marchese asked Wenner about the lack of women and Black artists featured in his book. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sep. 2023 Despite Browne’s lack of training, Lauren hired him for the job. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 During the rule of the Democratic Progressive Party, the lack of communication across the Taiwan Strait edged the situation closer to potential conflict. Hou Yu-Ih, Foreign Affairs, 18 Sep. 2023 This did not happen, as WPS permanently shut down as a result of a lack of funding. Joe Eachus,, 18 Sep. 2023 The hall has also been criticized for its relative lack of female and minority inductees, with some recent improvement. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2023 While environmentalists and scooter advocates expressed frustration about the lack of scooters caused by the crackdown, the watchdog group Safe Walkways urged city officials not to back down. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2023 Says all those things add up to lack of consistency. Matt Stahl |, al, 16 Sep. 2023 The lack of representation is especially acute for Latinos, who make up just 5% of state high court justices in 2023 — despite accounting for 19% of the U.S. population. Aaron Mendelson, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

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 21 Sep. 2023.

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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