in·​suf·​fi·​cient ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce insufficient (audio)
: not sufficient : inadequate
insufficient funds
especially : lacking adequate power, capacity, or competence
insufficient bandwidth
insufficiently adverb

Example Sentences

The case was thrown out because of insufficient evidence. there's been an insufficient number of volunteers for the job, so I'll have to select someone
Recent Examples on the Web Women feel that underlying sexism, lack of appreciation, and insufficient opportunities are partly to blame. Kinsey Crowley, Fortune, 10 Mar. 2023 The problem was related to drivers’ unfamiliarity with new routes, insufficient trucks, and fewer temporary workers, according to then-Director of Sanitation Jay Council. María Ramos Pacheco, Dallas News, 10 Mar. 2023 Out of the signatures thrown out, 68 were from unregistered voters, 2,342 had insufficient information or information that didn't match, and 6,983 were signatures collected by fraudulent-petition circulators. Leah Vredenbregt, ABC News, 9 Mar. 2023 Among the violations: ► Banks charged multiple insufficient fund fees for the same transaction. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2023 The hydraulic model provides critical insight into water system pressure management – whether there be insufficient water pressure to supply homes or too much pressure causing water main breaks. John Sabo, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 Our first order seemed to be a victim of insufficient staff training on the new menu item — there was no bacon in any of them. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2023 President Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament there were signs the economy was improving but there was still insufficient foreign currency for all imports, making the IMF deal crucial so other creditors could also start releasing funds. Reuters, CNN, 7 Mar. 2023 The defense pointed to insufficient police work, the lack of a murder weapon, and several other pieces of concrete evidence as a case for Murdaugh's innocence in the murders. Rachel Schilke, Washington Examiner, 2 Mar. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insufficient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin insufficient-, insufficiens, from Latin in- + sufficient-, sufficiens sufficient

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near insufficient

Cite this Entry

“Insufficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​suf·​fi·​cient ˌin(t)-sə-ˈfish-ənt How to pronounce insufficient (audio)
: not sufficient : inadequate
insufficiently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on insufficient

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?