suf·​fi·​cient sə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce sufficient (audio)
: enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end
sufficient provisions for a month
archaic : qualified, competent
sufficiently adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for sufficient

sufficient, enough, adequate, competent mean being what is necessary or desirable.

sufficient suggests a close meeting of a need.

sufficient savings

enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient.

do you have enough food?

adequate may imply barely meeting a requirement.

the service was adequate

competent suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end.

had no competent notion of what was going on

Examples of sufficient in a Sentence

Considering that John Adams was notoriously insecure about his own place in history, he surely would have enjoyed his current renown. He and Abigail get pride of place in the family crypt, down a winding staircase in the church basement. On her plaque in the crypt, she is described as a "model of domestic worth," as though she were a particularly charming chifforobe, and not a woman who survived a troubled marriage with sufficient courage that both houses of Congress adjourned upon hearing of her death. Charles P. Pierce, Boston Globe Magazine, 26 July 2009
Because canines are, for the most part, unable to naturally manufacture sufficient vitamins to meet their daily requirements, a dog's routinely consumed meals, with some exceptions, must be augmented with them during the manufacturing process. Tom Ewing, Dog Watch, February 2009
And since this policy is usually accompanied by a pledge to provide sufficient scholarship funds to admitted applicants who cannot afford the full cost (around $45,000 in the Ivy League today), it is an expensive policy. Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books, 29 Mar. 2007
The result was a magnificent example of evidence overkill—the first set of prints alone was sufficient to match the gangbanger to a set in the national Automated Fingerprint Identification System database. Jessica Snyder Sachs, Popular Science, March 2004
A brisk walk is sufficient to raise your heart rate. There must be sufficient funds in your bank account to cover the check. Her explanation was not sufficient to satisfy the police. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Conversely, is there a sufficient premium charged for such just-in-time service? Harry G. Broadman, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Despite previously granting the state’s request for a temporary restraining order, Judge Alia Moses said in her ruling Wednesday that Texas had not provided sufficient evidence to prove the federal government broke the law in removing razor-wire. Armando Garcia, ABC News, 30 Nov. 2023 Having your levels tested regularly can give you a sense of whether your intake is sufficient. Sarah Garone, Health, 29 Nov. 2023 In case of a huge success, its U.K. production capacity will not be sufficient. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Nov. 2023 There is agreement among all sides that the flow of aid into Gaza is not sufficient, but U.S. officials say the main challenge is security and logistical issues that don’t allow for more than 200 trucks per day. John Hudson, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2023 In fact, the ELT started out as an idea called OWL—the OverWhelmingly Large Telescope—that would have been a Brobdingnagian 100 meters wide; after much review a panel of astronomers decided a more modest 39 meters would be sufficient. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 23 Nov. 2023 What actually happened: Margate residents had resisted the project, arguing that an existing retaining wall was sufficient and that dune construction would cause drainage problems for the seaside town. Tony Schick, ProPublica, 17 Nov. 2023 Finding sufficient proof could be difficult, though Weitzman said all of the rabbits in the transfer were microchipped. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English sufficiant, sufficient, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French suffisant, sufficient, in part from present participle of suffire "to suffice," in part borrowed from Latin sufficient-, sufficiens, from present participle of sufficere "to have enough strength or capacity, be adequate" — more at suffice

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sufficient was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sufficient

Cite this Entry

“Sufficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


suf·​fi·​cient sə-ˈfish-ənt How to pronounce sufficient (audio)
: enough to achieve a goal or fill a need
sufficiently adverb

Legal Definition


: enough to meet the needs under the law of a situation or a proposed end
sufficiently adverb
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