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

Example Sentences

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
The other 82% — people under 65, anyone with regular insurance, and those who lack insurance — remain at the mercy of market forces for insulin. Danielle Ofri, STAT, 20 Jan. 2023 In Uganda, where most corn is grown by small farmers who lack proper facilities to dry and store it, contamination with fungi that produce dangerous substances called aflatoxin has been a significant human and animal health concern. Abay Yimere, The Conversation, 19 Jan. 2023 Hill, who might lack facts but always holds your interest, gave an amusing reason why the pingpong table was missing. Chris Perkins, Sun Sentinel, 5 Jan. 2023 Many lenders simply won't offer auto loans to people who don't meet credit qualifications, such as those who lack good credit and or have no credit history. Elizabeth Rivelli, Car and Driver, 3 Jan. 2023 Those who lack adequate shelter will find this a dangerous period. oregonlive, 21 Dec. 2022 Small investors, who lack the deep pockets and flexibility that large investors benefit from, should be able to participate in a system where more than social trust is required. Bruce G. Carruthers, Fortune, 20 Dec. 2022 Services have expanded to meet that need, including a mobile pantry that goes out into the community to serve folks who lack transportation to get to the pantry. Amy Lavalley, Chicago Tribune, 8 Dec. 2022 And by erecting obstacles to citizenship such as residency requirements, our government continues to effectively exclude those who lack means, such as the unhoused. Celina Su, The New Republic, 5 Dec. 2022
But most of the stuff comes down to a lack of execution. Mike Rodak |, al, 24 Jan. 2023 The inability of the model or ML scientists to explain predictions to stakeholders, as well as the difficulty in interpreting the model training behavior, leads to a lack of stakeholder trust in the model and its predictions. Vikas Gupta, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Unseasonably warm weather this winter has led to a lack of snow and ice across much of southern Wisconsin. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 20 Jan. 2023 While casual wrestling fans might have left wanting more thanks to the lack of exciting pins, coach Dave Dodson and Manchester Valley fans left impressed as the Mavericks dominated Thursday night’s dual against Century. Timothy Dashiell, Baltimore Sun, 19 Jan. 2023 Weather stations along the edge of the Greenland ice sheet have detected that its coastal regions are warming, but scientists’ understanding of the effects of rising temperatures there had been limited due to the lack of long-term observations. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 18 Jan. 2023 Foot Cream Dry, rough feet are usually due to a lack of moisture. Cristina Montemayor, Men's Health, 18 Jan. 2023 The killing of a former lawmaker in her home has shocked Afghans and drawn attention to the lack of protection for women in the country as the Taliban continue to impose strict limitations on their rights, pushing them further out of public life. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2023 The health department's vacancies aren't due to a lack of trying, Ingram said. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 17 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

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 26 Jan. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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