\ 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

absence, dearth, want

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of lack in a Sentence


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.


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

Inside Wasilla Middle School early Monday afternoon, a minority group of legislators who support the governor’s proposals met briefly, but lacking the numbers for a quorum, broke up and talked with news media. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Dueling rallies meet on doorstep of would-be special session in Wasilla," 9 July 2019 Dortmund gave Lattek two years to improve the side, but ultimately lacked the patience to rebuild., "Udo Lattek: The Bundesliga Icon Who Shattered European Records," 9 July 2019 Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, but hemp is historically an industrial plant — used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, and more — and lacks the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Allure, "The 15 Best CBD Vape Pens," 8 July 2019 For Mayor Harp to drag my wife into this campaign, when my wife has worked very hard to develop her professional career, is outrageous and lacking of the moral character of Mayor Harp’s office. Christopher Keating,, "In a rematch, Mayor Toni Harp faces Justin Elicker in New Haven election," 8 July 2019 Single-study sensationalism is ubiquitous – for example, glyphosate in oats, coconut oil and weight, coffee causing cancer – and findings lack context. The Conversation, "Confused about what to eat? Science can help," 5 July 2019 The team also found that individuals with CTE were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries no more often than people whose brains lacked CTE. Sabine Galvis, Science | AAAS, "Even if you don’t play contact sports, you could develop signs of traumatic brain injury," 3 July 2019 The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that AGB provided insufficient training for guards and canines and lacked the necessary licensure and certifications. Gregory Pratt,, "‘There was just no love on the platform’: Sister of woman killed by CTA train questions actions of bystanders, security guard," 2 July 2019 Iran, even by surpassing the 300kg mark, still remains a year away from being able to build a single bomb and lacks the quantity of material needed to get from here to there. Jon Wolfsthal, The New Republic, "Is Anyone Surprised Iran Has Returned to Enrichment?," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The lack of a consistent pass rush – especially in third-down situations – was one of them. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Counting down the most valuable Arizona Wildcats for 2019 football season," 9 July 2019 But this lack of mobility is key to understanding why deindustrialization is so painful. K.n.c., The Economist, "If capitalism is broken, maybe it’s fixable," 8 July 2019 Audio offerings live up to the app’s name, but the lack of structure isn’t ideal for tackling a specific issue. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "Feeling Anxious? So Is Everyone Else. This Guide Will Help.," 8 July 2019 And so yes, there is a lack of trust between Congressional Democrats and the executive branch. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 7, 2019," 7 July 2019 Apparently, the lack of parade respondents was a major reason., "Vintage MarketPlace attracts visitors from afar: Olmsted Dates and Data," 6 July 2019 When the owners and NFL Players Association battled in 2011, the union’s lack of negotiating power was on full display. Ben Volin,, "NFL offseason often a time for bad news," 6 July 2019 Email access for employees has been restored, along with electronic payments this week, but the lack of access to the email archive is an indication of how the effects of the attack will continue to linger behind the scenes. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore email archive still not accessible after cyber attack. What does that mean for records requests?," 5 July 2019 The lack of lengthy contracts was intentional as the Pistons are planning for the 2021 offseason, which will feature a good free agency class. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons free agency: Top takeaways after Week 1 of spending spree," 5 July 2019

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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Statistics for lack

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lack

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on lack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on lack

What made you want to look up lack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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