\ 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

McAdams' breast-pumping shoot arrives amidst an ongoing discussion about mothers breastfeeding in public and working moms lacking the proper facilities to pump in the workplace. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rachel McAdams Wears a Breast Pump and Versace in a Badass Photo Shoot," 20 Dec. 2018 But the evidence for such fraud has always been lacking. Dylan Scott, Vox, "There’s election fraud in North Carolina. That’s not the same thing as voter fraud.," 11 Dec. 2018 The offensive performances largely have been uneven during summer league, with much of the scoring coming from the free-throw line against foul-prone opponents lacking the ability to defend at the NBA level without fouling. Ira Winderman,, "Bam Adebayo leaving Heat with both questions, answers in summer league," 12 July 2018 Cotton lacking the gene pioneered at A&M got crowded out by the weeds in fields where the soil was fertilized with phosphate. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "A&M cotton research could open new front in war on weeds," 5 July 2018 People who live in neighborhoods lacking 100-year protection — and that means thousands in Sacramento — must buy flood insurance. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection," 5 July 2018 That isn’t minimalism; that’s just lacking personality. Emily Farra, Vogue, "How Will “Camp: Notes On Fashion” Change the Way We Dress?," 29 Apr. 2019 These storms, and the subsequent infrastructure disasters, have been hard on Native communities that are already impoverished and lack infrastructure. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "The Climate Disaster We Fear Is Already Happening," 22 Apr. 2019 There's also the Lucky Dress, which lacks the ruffle detail but has all the other ingredients. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "We Found the Best Spring Dress Trend—And It's Under $150," 9 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The trimmer dimensions and lack of a rear seat cut weight by 108 pounds compared with the mid-1990s, fourth-generation Supra. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "We Test the 2020 Toyota Supra: Zero to 60 in 3.8 Seconds," 14 May 2019 After all, there’s still a tremendous lack of body diversity in Hollywood, where a svelte body is still seen as the ideal figure, so anything deviating from that standard is inherently groundbreaking. Teen Vogue, "From B.A.P.S. to Shrill: How Black Plus-Size Women Have Shaped the Romantic Comedy Genre," 10 May 2019 The government’s coffers are reeling from lack of resources, and the U.N. estimates that eight out 10 people live below poverty line. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 She will be loved, but Adam Levine’s Super Bowl Halftime Show outfits (or lack thereof) will not. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Adam Levine Wore 4 Outfits at the Super Bowl and Fans Mercilessly Mocked Them All," 4 Feb. 2019 Japanese work culture is notorious for a lack of work-life balance; the phenomenon of karoshi, working oneself to death, has been well documented. Ellen Freeman, Curbed, "I lived in a Tokyo coworking space," 28 Sep. 2018 WeWork gets credit for being a disrupter of sorts, and the company certainly has played up its lack of conventionality. Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, "WeWork Builds Real-Estate IPO on Tech Foundation," 29 Apr. 2019 There is a lack of black designers in the home and décor industry. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "The Africa-Inspired Furniture Designs of Jomo Tariku Are Just Gorgeous," 1 Apr. 2019 Because of our lack of a gun culture, our gun lobby, crucially, is not vocally powerful like your NRA. Zac Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "New Zealand Banned Guns After Thoughts and Prayers. Why Can’t America?," 23 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

17 May 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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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