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[in-suh-fish-uh n-see] /ˌɪn səˈfɪʃ ən si/
noun, plural insufficiencies for 2.
deficiency in amount, force, power, competence, or fitness; inadequacy:
insufficiency of supplies.
an instance of this.
inability of an organ or other part of the body to function normally:
cardiac insufficiency.
Also, insufficience.
Origin of insufficiency
late Middle English
First recorded in 1375-1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word insufficientia. See insufficient, -ency
Related forms
self-insufficiency, noun, plural self-insufficiencies. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for insufficiency
Historical Examples
  • We hear sometimes from legends of national migrations caused by insufficiency of food.

    The Heroic Age H. Munro Chadwick
  • The only seasoning given our food was an insufficiency of salt.

    In the Flash Ranging Service Edward Alva Trueblood
  • Where now he realized only his own inconsequence, effort would make him aware of his own impotency and insufficiency.

    This Side of Paradise F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • It is perhaps an exaggeration of the condition to call it "insufficiency and decay."

    The Psychology of Singing David C. Taylor
  • Have you not often felt your own insufficiency to effect your own wishes in the commonest things?

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
  • And then the vanity of it, the cruelty and insufficiency of it!

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Never before in her life had she been up against this problem of insufficiency.

    The Dust Flower Basil King
  • But a serious drawback is the insufficiency and uncertainty of the rain supply.

  • She was bitterly unhappy at first about this, taking it as an indication of the insufficiency of her charms.

    The Real Adventure Henry Kitchell Webster
  • They too hastily confessed the insufficiency of arms and fortifications.

British Dictionary definitions for insufficiency


Also called insufficience. the state of being insufficient
(pathol) failure in the functioning of an organ, tissue, etc: cardiac insufficiency
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
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Word Origin and History for insufficiency

1520s, from Late Latin insufficientia, noun of quality from insufficientem (see insufficient). Insufficience "deficiency" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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insufficiency in Medicine

insufficiency in·suf·fi·cien·cy (ĭn'sə-fĭsh'ən-sē)

  1. An inability of a bodily part or an organ to function normally.

  2. A moral or mental incompetence.

  3. An inadequate supply.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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