\ 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

People with dissociative psychiatric conditions such as derealization or depersonalization syndrome report that their perceptual worlds, even their own selves, lack a sense of reality. Anil K. Seth, Scientific American, "The Neuroscience of Reality," 27 Aug. 2019 While the planet’s star, HR 5183, had been studied since the '90s, HR 5183 b’s epic journey meant that experts lacked full orbit information. Fox News, "Strange giant planet 'unlike any other' discovered," 27 Aug. 2019 Brown will have to prove that Wascher lacked the capacity, as a result of mental disease or defect, to either appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to control his conduct within the requirements of the law. David Owens,, "University of Hartford student accused of stabbing two fellow students will pursue insanity defense," 27 Aug. 2019 Don’t tell Eric March that Germans lack a sense of humor. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, "If this isn’t hop country, why is San Diego harvesting a bumper crop?," 19 Aug. 2019 Not that Castiglioni’s Marni ever really lacked for the latter. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 After the show aired in June, some viewers argued that this season lacks the same magic as the show’s original episodes. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "When Will ‘Dance Moms’ Season 9 Air? Here's Everything We Know So Far," 10 Aug. 2019 Anyone who knows me is sick of hearing me complain that New York cafes usually lack all of the above, especially on the baking front. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "Rockaway Beach Bakery Is the Real Reason I Go to the Beach," 9 Aug. 2019 Their new home was formerly two separate apartments that been combined in such a way that the layout lacked a logical flow. Samantha Swenson, ELLE Decor, "Inside a Knockout New York City Apartment By Interior Designer Michelle Gerson," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Whoopi Goldberg decried the lack of effectiveness of the measures in place. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Did Meghan McCain's personality seem different on 'The View' on Tuesday? Maybe," 4 Sep. 2019 Moved to Idaho in 1937 due to the dust bowl and lack of work., "Hugo Herman John," 4 Sep. 2019 The lack of affordable housing is widely seen as one of the three main challenges holding back the region’s economy. Robert Mccartney, Washington Post, "D.C. region’s leaders face big challenges as they tackle affordable-housing shortage," 4 Sep. 2019 The lack of attention this cycle, however, doesn’t mean the idea has gone away. Mark K. Matthews, Scientific American, "Five Things to Watch During CNN’s Climate Forum," 4 Sep. 2019 Instead their shape, use of materials, and size (or lack thereof) speaks more to what women prioritize and what fashion rules no longer apply. Glamour, "5 Bag Trends Will Be Everywhere This Fall 2019," 4 Sep. 2019 However, the unstoppable force of the Brazilian's desire to leave failed to shift the immovable forces of Paris Saint-Germain's reluctance to sell and Barcelona's embarrassing lack of funds., "Neymar: What Now for Barcelona & Paris Saint-Germain?," 4 Sep. 2019 The first citizen committee disbanded over internal conflicts and lack of feedback from former police chiefs and the past mayor. oregonlive, "Supporters urge Portland police chief, mayor to send condolences to relatives of people killed by police," 3 Sep. 2019 But there was news this week around the other terrible receiver picks in that draft, the remnants of a rash of bad decisions at the position arising from the lack of a consensus top pass catcher three years ago. Doug Lesmerises,, "Cleveland Browns’ receiver misery from 2016 NFL Draft has company," 3 Sep. 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

6 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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