suf·​fi·​cien·​cy | \ sə-ˈfi-shən(t)-sē How to pronounce sufficiency (audio) \
plural sufficiencies

Definition of sufficiency

1 : sufficient means to meet one's needs : competency also : a modest but adequate scale of living
2 : the quality or state of being sufficient : adequacy

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Examples of sufficiency in a Sentence

the sufficiency of the portions is such that you will leave the restaurant with a full stomach but without doggie bags

Recent Examples on the Web

The American Dream is something many of us share and includes achieving economic self-sufficiency. Peter Leroe-munoz, The Mercury News, "Opinion: How turning our backs on immigrants hurts Bay Area," 6 Sep. 2019 The Shepherd’s Staff, a Christian outreach and support center serving those in need and encouraging pathways to self-sufficiency, opened its doors in Westminster in 1991. Jon Kelvey,, "Q&A: Executive director Brenda Meadows on The Shepherd’s Staff’s new satellite office opening," 2 Sep. 2019 Yet this demand for self-sufficiency, both today and under previous administrations, is directed only at certain people. Brian Goldstone, The New Republic, "The New American Homeless," 21 Aug. 2019 Iran is also developing its own services for messaging, online banking and entertainment, part of a larger push for self-sufficiency amid Western sanctions. Washington Post, "Iranians manage to surf the web despite tide of censorship," 26 July 2019 Volunteers were trained as social workers to address urgent basic needs for people in crisis and, most importantly, to help each person develop their own plan for self-sufficiency. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From a goal to help globally to a calling to help locally," 7 July 2019 Alice Könitz went on a survivalist kick, learning methods for wilderness self-sufficiency that are recalled here as simple, homemade tools displayed inside a one-person shelter. Christopher Knight,, "Review: In ‘COLA 2019,’ the city of L.A. gives its artists a place to sound off," 18 June 2019 Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Despite a decadeslong drive for self-sufficiency, Iran remains tied to the world economy, particularly through oil. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "As Iran Marks Its Anniversary, Economic Woes Cloud a Pitch for Unity," 10 Feb. 2019 Proper progression involves climbing light and fast, with minimal gear and maximum self-sufficiency. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "The Tragedy on Howse Peak," 28 Aug. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sufficiency

earlier sufficience in same sense (going back to Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin sufficientia, from Latin sufficient-, sufficiens sufficient + -ia -ia entry 1) + -ency

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Statistics for sufficiency

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for sufficiency

The first known use of sufficiency was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for sufficiency



Legal Definition of sufficiency

: the quality or state of being sufficient the sufficiency of the evidence to convict

More from Merriam-Webster on sufficiency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sufficiency

Britannica English: Translation of sufficiency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sufficiency

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


to make a temporary encampment

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