un·​der·​staffed | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstaft \

Definition of understaffed 

: inadequately staffed

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Other Words from understaffed

understaffing \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈsta-​fiŋ \ noun

Examples of understaffed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

North Carolina’s understaffed prisons remain a dangerous place for employees six months after the bloodiest escape attempt in state history left four workers dead, according to agency data and separate case reports. charlotteobserver, "Since escape attempt, dozens of NC prisons workers have missed work after assaults | Charlotte Observer," 23 Apr. 2018 The Phoenix fire alarm room fields calls for 17 Phoenix-area cities and is notoriously understaffed. Austin Grad, USA TODAY, "911 calls for cat stuck on utility pole clog city's alarm room," 26 Mar. 2018 An independent review conducted after the February 2017 riot found the prison to be dangerously overcrowded, critically understaffed, and poorly run and managed. Washington Post, "Officials refuse to release prison staffing analysis," 29 June 2018 The notorious street gang took advantage of an understaffed police department in Mendota and terrorized the city, Scott said. Fox News, "US attorney: MS-13 gang terrorized California farm town," 31 Aug. 2018 A National Institute of Corrections evaluation report released in January said the Pasquotank prison was so understaffed that workers cut corners in ways that created opportunities for the deadly breakout attempt. Fox News, "Top leaders at prison where 4 died demoted, took pay cuts," 27 Sep. 2018 Doctors in Gaza are often unable to deal with such traumatic injuries, medical groups say, because hospitals there are overwhelmed and understaffed. Erin Cunningham And Hazem Balousha, chicagotribune.com, "Palestinian protesters are being shot in their legs by Israeli soldiers, and some face amputation," 28 Apr. 2018 Lanesboro, one of North Carolina’s most dangerous and understaffed prisons, has for year been plagued by violence and corruption. Ames Alexander And Gavin Off, charlotteobserver, "Officer, two inmates injured during fight at Lanesboro prison | Charlotte Observer," 12 Apr. 2018 For most of Trump’s term, the FTC was understaffed, but a raft of new nominations in January have slowly brought it back to full strength. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Google’s bad day in Congress came at the worst possible time," 6 Sep. 2018

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

1891, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for understaffed

The first known use of understaffed was in 1891

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English Language Learners Definition of understaffed

: not having enough workers : having a staff that is too small

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