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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Pennsylvania 19 Electoral Votes A coalition of grassroots organizations sued Pennsylvania officials in late May to end the disqualification of mail-in ballots lacking a handwritten date on the envelope. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 1 July 2024 While some Boots stores – in London and other big city centers – are glossy, buzzy and brimming with products, others are understaffed, disorganized and often lacking in stock. Samantha Conti, WWD, 1 July 2024
Between the humiliations of the war and the lack of a nicotine fix, many smokers around him are on edge. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2024 Affordability was the main reason, of course, followed by the desire for a minimalist lifestyle and the lack of a need for a larger home. Lew Sichelman, Miami Herald, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for lack 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lack.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 14 Jul. 2024.

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

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