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

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 Autonomy requires a large measure of self-sufficiency, to which end the Apiwtxa have enhanced their food sovereignty and implemented economic and trading practices that minimally impact the environment. Carolina Schneider Comandulli, Scientific American, 23 Apr. 2022 The other is grounded in neighborhoods of sufficiency. Steve West, Sun Sentinel, 21 Apr. 2022 Irreversible decisions can also help create self-sufficiency. Kayvan Kian, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Ultimately, the farming association's goal is to create self-sufficiency for Hmong families through agriculture. Erin Adler, Star Tribune, 10 Nov. 2020 High effective marginal tax rates mean that some workers have a financial disincentive to invest in their own human capital and advance from lower-wage work to jobs that lead to economic self-sufficiency. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 7 May 2022 The Sustainable Materials Management coalition is trying to reach self-sufficiency by significantly reducing the amount of material going into the waste stream. Tom Condon, Hartford Courant, 4 May 2022 The goal is for these families to reach self-sufficiency within 12 months. The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2021 Allowing residents to go to the shops and hairdressers on their own restores their sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 8 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About sufficiency

Time Traveler for sufficiency

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sufficiency




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sufficiency

Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sufficiency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

Britannica English: Translation of sufficiency for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!