as much or as good as necessary for some requirement or purpose; fully sufficient, suitable, or fit (often followed by to or for): This car is adequate to our needs. adequate food for fifty people.
barely sufficient or suitable: Being adequate is not good enough.
Law. reasonably sufficient for starting legal action: adequate grounds.

Origin of adequate

1610–20; < Latin adaequātus matched (past participle of adaequāre). See ad-, equal, -ate1
Related formsad·e·quate·ly, adverbad·e·quate·ness, nounpre·ad·e·quate, adjectivepre·ad·e·quate·ly, adverbpre·ad·e·quate·ness, nounqua·si-ad·e·quate, adjectivequa·si-ad·e·quate·ly, adverbsu·per·ad·e·quate, adjectivesu·per·ad·e·quate·ly, adverbsu·per·ad·e·quate·ness, noun

Synonyms for adequate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adequate

Contemporary Examples of adequate

Historical Examples of adequate

  • They are really channels for the transmission, adequate or inadequate, of sense impressions.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • "But," she said, and then stopped as if unable to find words, adequate to her meaning.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It represented scorn for which Mrs. Blair could find no adequate utterance.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • She hoped that Elder Weeks would be adequate in the latter direction.

    The Village Watch-Tower

    (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin

  • This explanation is plausible; but I do not find it adequate.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

British Dictionary definitions for adequate



able to fulfil a need or requirement without being abundant, outstanding, etc
Derived Formsadequacy (ˈædɪkwəsɪ), nounadequately, adverb

Word Origin for adequate

C17: from Latin adaequāre to equalize, from ad- to + aequus equal
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

Word Origin and History for adequate

1610s, from Latin adaequatus "equalized," past participle of adaequare "to make equal to," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + aequare "make level," from aequus (see equal). The sense is of being "equal to what is required." Related: Adequateness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper