\ 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

The infusion of early money into a race can help new or nontraditional candidates, particularly those who lack elected or fundraising experience. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "Elise Stefanik Is Going to Bring Women Back to the GOP," 25 Mar. 2019 To some, that makes Hardy a superhero – fighting for people who lack the means, time or energy to fight for themselves. Hannah Sparling,, "Is this guy a public-transit superhero? Or is he just a pain in the butt?," 10 July 2018 Email newsletter: Be ready for all our coverage with Colts Insider Teams do not have to participate in the supplemental draft but all three players could appeal to the Colts, who lack depth in the defensive backfield. Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, "Colts could make a selection in NFL supplemental draft," 9 July 2018 Cruise cabins are notorious for being tiny, cramped, and pretty much lacking in the luxury department. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "The World's Largest Luxury Cruise Suite Will Have a Sauna, Pool, and $200,000 Bed," 7 Feb. 2019 While the launching of the Johnson completes the construction of the controversial destroyers, the program—which was cut by more than 90 percent, and still lacks ammunition for the six advanced gun systems—remains deeply troubled. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "As the Final Zumwalt-Class Stealth Destroyer Launches, the Ships’ Fate Remains Unclear," 11 Dec. 2018 Unlike most hearing rooms, 262 Dirksen lacks a rear door immediately behind the dais for senators, aides and key witnesses to come and go. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Dramatic testimony from Kavanaugh, Ford included outrage, emotion, history," 27 Sep. 2018 Out here, even the airport lacks an asphalt road leading to it. Jason Harper, Condé Nast Traveler, "On the Hunt for Dinosaur Bones in the Gobi Desert," 20 July 2018 The euro zone lacks a common safe asset to break this doom loop. The Economist, "Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis symptoms include tremors and a lack of coordination. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Selma Blair Shares Inspirational Video With Tips for Applying Makeup With Multiple Sclerosis," 2 Apr. 2019 But the lack of a national guaranteed paid leave standard has captured politicians’ attention. Bryce Covert, Glamour, "America Could at Last Pass Paid Leave. But What Good Is a Plan That Excludes Millions of Women?," 2 Apr. 2019 Best of all is the lack of light pollution or traffic—at night the only lights are the stars and moon above, and the soundtrack (in addition to the hotel’s own groovy Spotify channel) is the whistle of the wind and ocean. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "A Design Lover's Guide to the Baja Peninsula," 29 Mar. 2019 Whether Disney's sexist storytelling is rooted in a lack of female creators or an unwavering commitment to the aforementioned shortcut is up for debate. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why Does Disney Hate Mothers So Much?," 28 Mar. 2019 The lack of an RPS doesn’t necessarily mean that a state is hostile to renewable energy. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 maps that show who’s being left behind in America’s wind-power boom," 28 Mar. 2019 Prosecutions of single migrant adults caught crossing the border for the first time in and around Del Rio, Texas, were suspended in February amid lack of jail space, said a U.S. Border Patrol official. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "Border Patrol Stops Prosecuting First-Time Border Crossers in Texas Region," 28 Mar. 2019 In car somewhat drunk but also the lack of skill on both our parts to get going properly or communicate. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "13 Virginity Horror Stories That Are Super Cringy," 22 Mar. 2019 Goessling’s lack of support for communities that include marginalized women, who can be especially prone to domestic and dating violence, is telling. Teen Vogue, "Shannon Goessling, Trump’s Pick to Lead the Office on Violence Against Women, Has a Troubling Record," 18 Mar. 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

5 Apr 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).


an enemy or opponent

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