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 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 While there are probably some contexts where that limited range can still be sufficient, a lot of uses will need to manage much larger temperature differences—think about the contrast between a warm house and an Arctic winter, for example. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 16 Nov. 2023 If issues in a specific domain that have potential disclosure implications arise, the responsible executive has a duty to ensure sufficient resources are brought to bear to obtain the necessary insights to satisfy the disclosure requirements. Jim Deloach, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Health department spokesperson Jackie Farwell said that plans of correction are often sufficient for improving conditions at facilities. Rose Lundy, ProPublica, 12 Nov. 2023 Two to three passes should be sufficient, according to research in the Dyson laboratory. Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Nov. 2023 Trump has said several times that his lead in the national polls give him sufficient reason to skip the debates. Chris Morris, Fortune, 8 Nov. 2023 Questioned about his support for Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands, Scott has said that Israel's directive for Palestinians in the area to evacuate was sufficient. Emma Nicholson, Allison Novelo, CBS News, 8 Nov. 2023 The company has cash and assets that can be quickly converted to cash totaling $1.1 billion, a sum executives said would be sufficient to get the first two Delta-class ships developed and into service and also allow the company to reach positive cash flow in 2026. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, 8 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 28 Nov. 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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