\ ˈlak How to pronounce lack (audio) \
lacked; lacking; lacks

Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to be deficient or missing time is lacking for a full explanation
2 : 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.



Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for lack

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of lack in a Sentence

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: Verb Garg: Our customers are small businesses owners who currently lack a digital presence and are interested in developing a new website. Mary Juetten, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 The goal of this new league is to create new possibilities for students who lack access to computers and other technology. Jonathan Anastas, Rolling Stone, 4 Oct. 2021 That is, what percentage of the population will need to be immune to the coronavirus, either through vaccination or previous infection, to reduce the likelihood of infections for those who lack immunity., 2 Oct. 2021 Tenants and landlords who lack legal immigration status can apply if they’ve been financially affected by COVID. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2021 The American Civil Liberties Union noted that adults in communities of color who lack broadband face significant barriers in accessing employment, education and life necessities. NBC News, 30 Sep. 2021 The Belgian subsidy will go toward women who lack the financial means to travel abroad. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 One factor that may have figured into experts’ thinking is the need to prioritize getting first and second doses to people in lower-income countries who still lack access to Covid-19 vaccines. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 20 Sep. 2021 Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine remains a key component of the global vaccination effort and could help vaccinate people who live in remote areas or who lack easy access to health care providers. Hallie Miller,, 15 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many say this lack of diversity is hampering scientific progress, because many scholars with differing experiences are being left out. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 15 Oct. 2021 The problem, as in many other gateway communities across the country, is a severe lack of housing that workers can afford. K. Sophie Will, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 The 21st Century Cures Act was designed to address this lack of seamless data exchange. Aashima Gupta, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 This lack of cooperation became the basis for one of the articles of impeachment, but Democrats, who were in a hurry at the time, didn't pursue the subpoenas in court. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 14 Oct. 2021 Dougherty said the most difficult aspect of FASD is the kids’ lack of executive functioning skills, which are the mental processes that enable people to make plans, focus attention and remember instructions, among other things. Rosie Colosi, NBC News, 14 Oct. 2021 Saliu said there's a lack of Mediterranean-style restaurants in the Milwaukee area. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Oct. 2021 This lack of awareness about how Black people process pain, especially in front of White people, reflects an irredeemable flaw of de Visé’s book. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 There's room to simultaneously be disappointed in this lack of diversity, and to celebrate the winners' accomplishments. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 9 Oct. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of lack


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lack

Noun and Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About lack

Time Traveler for lack

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near lack




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lack

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lack



English Language Learners Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to not have (something) : to not have enough of (something)



English Language Learners Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state or condition of not having any or enough of something : the state or condition of lacking something


\ ˈlak How to pronounce lack (audio) \
lacked; lacking

Kids Definition of lack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be missing Something is lacking in the soup.
2 : to need or be without something I lack the necessary money.



Kids Definition of lack (Entry 2 of 2)

: the fact or state of not having any or enough of something a lack of time

More from Merriam-Webster on lack

Nglish: Translation of lack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lack for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lack


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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