Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[def-uh-sit; British also dih-fis-it] /ˈdɛf ə sɪt; British also dɪˈfɪs ɪt/
the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount.
the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceed income or assets.
a lack or shortage; deficiency.
a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap:
The team's major deficit is its poor pitching.
a loss, as in the operation of a business.
Origin of deficit
1775-85; < Latin dēficit (it) lacks, 3rd person singular present indicative of dēficere; see deficient
Related forms
superdeficit, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for deficits
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The money that went to meet these deficits was provided from some source.

    The Railroad Problem

    Edward Hungerford
  • Participation in profits without responsibility as to deficits.

    The Roycroft Dictionary Elbert Hubbard
  • The chief embarrassments have arisen, not from deficits, but from surpluses.

    Congressional Government Woodrow Wilson
  • Indeed, the New Zealand Treasury may be said to have been cradled in deficits.

    The Long White Cloud

    William Pember Reeves
  • Then, of course, every few months, there were deficits which had to be made good.

    The Marriage of William Ashe Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for deficits


/ˈdɛfɪsɪt; dɪˈfɪsɪt/
the amount by which an actual sum is lower than that expected or required
  1. an excess of liabilities over assets
  2. an excess of expenditures over revenues during a certain period
  3. an excess of payments over receipts on the balance of payments
Word Origin
C18: from Latin, literally: there is lacking, from dēficere to be lacking
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for deficits



1782, from French déficit (late 17c.), from Latin deficit "it is wanting," an introductory word in clauses of inventory, third person singular present indicative of deficere "to be deficient" (see deficient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
deficits in Medicine

deficit def·i·cit (děf'ĭ-sĭt)

  1. A lack or deficiency of a substance.

  2. A lack or impairment in mental or physical functioning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
deficits in Culture

deficit definition

A shortage, especially the amount by which a sum of money falls short of what is required; a debt.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for deficits

Difficulty index for deficit

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for deficits

Scrabble Words With Friends