1 of 2


lacked; lacking; lacks

intransitive verb

: to be deficient or missing
time is lacking for a full explanation
: to be short or have need of something
he will not lack for advisers
The area does not lack for good restaurants.

transitive verb

: to stand in need of : suffer from the absence or deficiency of
lack the necessities of life
She lacked confidence.


2 of 2


: the fact or state of being wanting or deficient
a lack of evidence
: something that is lacking or is needed

Example Sentences

Verb His book lacks any coherent structure. They lack a good strategy for winning the election. This painting lacks any artistic value. She has never been accused of lacking confidence. Many of these people lack the basic necessities of life. Noun The problem is a lack of money. She has been suffering from a lack of sleep lately. Her problem is lack of sleep. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Pressure dropped quickly and reached impressive lows between 985 and 990 millibars, only for the storm to lack the moisture needed to reel in heavy downpours to San Francisco and the wider Bay Area. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Mar. 2023 Instead, this slight and sparing memoir is a testament to those attributes Malcolm most admired (and relied on her journalistic subjects to lack): dignity, discretion, craft, and control. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, 20 Mar. 2023 Workers Justice Project Executive Director Ligia Guallpa told ABC News that 90% of the 65,000 micro-mobility devices used in New York by delivery workers lack the critical safety certification that new bikes will require. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 20 Mar. 2023 Many answers solicited by people using the system contained errors, and responses tended to lack depth or insight. Greg Petro, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2023 Phil Strach, a lawyer for the GOP lawmakers, told the court on Tuesday that the 2022 decisions show that state courts lack the ability to calculate and determine what are considered politically fair maps. Gary D. Robertson, ajc, 15 Mar. 2023 Then, in 2016, Brian Key, a biomedical scientist from Australia’s University of Queensland, argued that fish lack the neurological architecture to feel pain. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 15 Mar. 2023 In the recent interview with Hadad, the Pope further spoke about rising divorce rates, suggesting young people sometimes get married too early and that their marriages lack meaning. Landon Mion, Fox News, 14 Mar. 2023 The job market is daunting for filmmakers, media producers, editors and other early career talent, while the arts and media sectors lack a broad enough infrastructure to support accessible pathways for in-demand jobs. Hilary Smith, Variety, 14 Mar. 2023
But the relative lack of actual emissions raises another issue: With so much cash being poured into companies that do good for the environment, how is a company with a small carbon footprint supposed to compete? Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Mar. 2023 Progressive and State Farm have dropped some older Hyundai and Kia vehicles due to their lack of anti-theft features. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2023 Eventually, the judge ruled that Graham would not be deposed due to lack of evidence of his involvement. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 20 Mar. 2023 The lack of time for indecisive dithering was what made the trip soothing for me. Caity Weaver, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2023 However, their claims were dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, 18 Mar. 2023 Government officials don’t pay enough attention to preventing accidents due to a lack of funding devoted to such efforts, said Judith Enck, a former EPA regional administrator now president of environmental advocacy group Beyond Plastics. Ashley Soebroto,, 18 Mar. 2023 The lack of postseason experience is mainly the result of the pandemic, which canceled the 2020 NCAA tournament for Osborne and Camryn Brown, who were freshmen on a team that was ranked in the top 11 all season. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2023 Bank economists said the lack of affordable and quality child care is a significant factor. Harriet Torry, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English lak; akin to Middle Dutch lak lack, Old Norse lakr defective

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lack was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near lack

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to be missing
: to need, want, or be short of
lacks money


2 of 2 noun
: the fact or state of being absent or in short supply
: something that is lacking or is needed

More from Merriam-Webster on lack

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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