\ 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 Some conservative legal analysts have told the court that Texas and other states lack standing to bring the case at all. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Pandemic, politics make Trump administration's latest attack on health care law perilous," 26 June 2020 The region also lack access to adequate healthcare due to hospital closures. al, "Alabama graduation coach sending self-care kits to Black Belt teens," 25 June 2020 Even with a device, some families still lack home internet access. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "If schools close again, a new grant will help them be better prepared for online learning," 23 June 2020 But the governor doesn't lack for company — the COVID lockdown brought his three daughters home. CBS News, "Gov. Andrew Cuomo on confronting a "frightening" pandemic, and thoughts on his political future," 22 June 2020 But after three years of litigation, a federal district judge ruled the law discriminatory; the decision found that black voters were roughly 50 percent likelier to lack such IDs. Lee Drutman, The New Republic, "How Democracy Dies at the Ballot Box," 18 June 2020 Texas women are also twice as likely to lack health insurance compared to women in other parts of the U.S. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, "Texas women are sliding backward on pay equity amid an economic crisis, study says," 16 June 2020 Without these steps, the debate will continue to lack concrete results. Sylvester Ogbechie, Quartz Africa, "How to bring Africa’s artifacts back home from Europe’s museums," 14 June 2020 Unbothered continues to lack support at Refinery29. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Refinery29 is reeling from claims of racism and toxic work culture. Employees say it's even worse behind the scenes," 11 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun City Ombudsman Margie Sollinger soon discovered a lack of safety checks or any rigorous state regulation as well as lax oversight by the Police Bureau of its contract with the nonprofit. oregonlive, "Whistleblower reveals serious injuries, lax oversight at Central City Concern’s Sobering Station," 27 June 2020 Playing the Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Keyaira Boone, Essence, "Kristen Bell And Jenny Slate Resign From Playing Black Cartoon Characters," 25 June 2020 Disneyland will not reopen as scheduled on July 17, Disney announced Wednesday, citing a lack of guidance from California officials. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Disneyland to delay reopening theme parks and resort hotels," 25 June 2020 Cagle claims in his lawsuit against USPI that Tenet stockholders had a right to know that information and that he was illegally fired after attempting to expose the lack of transparency. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Lawyer claims he was fired for trying to reveal Tenet Healthcare’s financial shenanigans," 25 June 2020 The commander of a police precinct in New York City will resign this week, citing a lack of guidance from superior officers on recent reforms led by the city. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "NYPD precinct commander quits force in protest over handling of reforms," 25 June 2020 Playing the character of Molly on Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate Step Down From Voicing Black Animated Characters," 25 June 2020 The recent decimation of Meskel Square, one of the city’s biggest public spaces, illustrates this lack of transparency and inclusivity in the decision-making process. Biruk Terrefe, Quartz Africa, "Megaprojects in Addis Ababa raise questions about Ethiopia’s spatial justice and urban design," 25 June 2020 Bolton finds a deep lack of preparedness, knowledge, and consistency in the White House. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "John Bolton’s Accidentally Unflattering Self-Portrait," 25 June 2020

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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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

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for lack


How to pronounce lack (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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