Definition of lack in US English:



  • The state of being without or not having enough of something.

    ‘there is no lack of entertainment aboard ship’
    ‘the case was dismissed for lack of evidence’
    in singular ‘there is a lack of parking space in the town’
    • ‘The Iowa straw poll is just another example of the general lack of enthusiasm for the GOP field.’
    • ‘Our complete lack of focus (among many other things) contributed to our ultimate demise.’
    • ‘Murray Iddles says it is a kick in the guts to see industry only contributing $10,000 to the scheme which has now been closed by Growcom due to the lack of support.’
    • ‘Jagger's conclusions are similar: ‘There is a shocking lack of evidence in this case,’ she says.’
    • ‘Much of the country is suffering severe lack of water, and the small quantities supplied are not good for human use.’
    absence, want, need, deficiency, dearth, insufficiency, shortage, shortfall, scarcity, paucity, unavailability, scarceness, undersupply, deficit, scantiness, sparseness, meagreness, inadequacy, shortness, deprivation, destitution, privation, famine, drought, poverty, non-existence, rareness, infrequency, uncommonness
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[with object]
  • Be without or deficient in.

    ‘the novel lacks imagination’
    no object ‘she lacks in patience’
    ‘Sam did not lack for friends’
    • ‘We liked the politics of that strategy - for instance, trying to overhaul Social Security and immigration - but it was clear it lacked traction in Congress.’
    • ‘Company executives will not lack for feedback about how they are doing.’
    • ‘April and May brought daily news reports quoting U.S. military officers saying they lacked the manpower to do their jobs.’
    • ‘I consider health policies that were implemented in New Zealand in the 1990s, the reaction among the public to liberalization policies, and the reasons why the market lacked public legitimacy.’
    • ‘At the same time, however, millions of people lack such coverage, and policymakers have proposed a range of approaches for expanding health insurance coverage.’
    • ‘Fifty-eight sparkling runs in the first innings were rendered inconsequential by a rash sweep-shot, and his captaincy lacked the imagination he had shown in the summer’
    • ‘Auditors also found that the District at times lacked documentation to indicate whether spending was done for legitimate school purposes.’
    • ‘What they lack in experience they make up for in attitude.’
    • ‘More than one in three veterans under age 25 lacked health coverage, as did one in seven veterans age 25 to 44 and one in ten veterans age 45 to 65.’
    • ‘In addition, this official explained, the information lacks context and does not prioritize threats.’
    • ‘This case hardly lacks for bizarre elements.’
    • ‘The Court noted that mediation was mandatory, the controversy was one covered by the statute and, as a result, the courts lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the dispute.’
    be without, have need of, be in need of, need, be lacking, require, want, feel the want of, be short of, be deficient in, stand in need of, go without, be bereft of, be deprived of, be low on, be pressed for, not have enough of, be devoid of, have insufficient, cry out for
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Middle English: corresponding to, and perhaps partly from, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German lak ‘deficiency’, Middle Dutch laken ‘lack, blame’.