la·​cu·​na | \ lə-ˈkü-nə How to pronounce lacuna (audio) , -ˈkyü-\
plural lacunae\ lə-​ˈkyü-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce lacunae (audio) , -​ˈkü-​ˌnī \ also lacunas\ lə-​ˈkü-​nəz How to pronounce lacunas (audio) , -​ˈkyü-​ \

Definition of lacuna

1 : a blank space or a missing part : gap the evident lacunae in his story— Shirley Hazzard also : deficiency sense 1 despite all these lacunae, those reforms were a vast improvement New Republic
2 : a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure

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Other Words from lacuna

lacunar \ lə-​ˈkü-​nər How to pronounce lacunar (audio) , -​ˈkyü-​ \ or less commonly lacunate \ lə-​ˈkü-​nət How to pronounce lacunate (audio) , -​ˈkyü-​ , -​ˌnāt ; ˈla-​kyə-​ˌnāt \ adjective

Did You Know?

Exploring the etymology of lacuna involves taking a plunge into the pit - or maybe a leap into the "lacus" (that's the Latin word for "lake"). Latin speakers modified "lacus" into "lacuna," and used it to mean "pit," "cleft," or "pool." English speakers borrowed the term in the 17th century. Another English word that traces its origin to "lacuna" is "lagoon," which came to us by way of Italian and French.

Examples of lacuna in a Sentence

She found a lacuna in the historical record. attributes many of the nation's problems to a lacuna of leadership at the top

Recent Examples on the Web

In a wide-ranging and learned reflection, drawing on great Russian and early Christian thinkers, there is one huge lacuna: any negative reference to the communist regime which in 1923 closed Sarov’s once-magnificent monastery and its nine churches. The Economist, "Church leaders in central and eastern Europe remain surprisingly loth to condemn their old adversary," 11 Aug. 2019 Perhaps these lacunae are meant to unsettle plaintiffs in Sierra Club and the half-dozen other lawsuits challenging Mr Trump’s emergency cash transfer by executive fiat. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court’s ruling on the border wall leaves unanswered questions," 29 July 2019 The constitutional prohibition on people under the age of 35 serving as president is just one of these weird lacuna that was handed down to us from the 18th century but that nobody would seriously propose creating today if not for status quo bias. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "It’s ridiculous that it’s unconstitutional for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for president," 12 Dec. 2018 The hollow is rich and generative, a lacuna of a kind Ball has mastered. Ellie Robins,, "Jesse Ball's 'Census' is an understated tale of a father and son taking stock of America," 9 Mar. 2018 But at least part of this outrage lacuna must be attributable to the distorting effects of partisanship. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "American Nationalists Are Awfully Quiet about Russia," 16 Feb. 2018 Obviously the giant lacuna in that sort of analysis is that there was segregation in the country, the status of women, status of gay people, etc. Isaac Chotiner, Slate Magazine, "Why corporate America is so much more awful than it used to be.," 29 Sep. 2017 The lacuna bespeaks incuriosity about the wife of the great man, which Merz was at no pains to correct. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Marisa Merz’s Factory of Dreams," 30 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lacuna.' 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 lacuna

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lacuna

Latin, pool, pit, gap — more at lagoon

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Dictionary Entries near lacuna


lac tree






Statistics for lacuna

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for lacuna

The first known use of lacuna was in 1652

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More Definitions for lacuna



English Language Learners Definition of lacuna

formal : a gap or blank space in something : a missing part


la·​cu·​na | \ lə-ˈk(y)ü-nə How to pronounce lacuna (audio) \
plural lacunae\ -​ˈkyü-​(ˌ)nē How to pronounce lacunae (audio) , -​ˈkü-​ˌnī How to pronounce lacunae (audio) \

Medical Definition of lacuna

: a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure: as
a : one of the follicles in the mucous membrane of the urethra
b : one of the minute cavities in bone or cartilage occupied by the osteocytes

Other Words from lacuna

lacunar \ -​ˈk(y)ü-​nər How to pronounce lacunar (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on lacuna

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lacuna

Spanish Central: Translation of lacuna

Nglish: Translation of lacuna for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lacuna

What made you want to look up lacuna? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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