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 adequately

Contemporary Examples of adequately

Historical Examples of adequately

  • That which we do not believe we cannot adequately say, though we may repeat the words never so often.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • The subject is a great one and cannot be adequately treated as an appendage to another.



  • She was in high feather, not adequately to be expressed by the plumes, and at once she told him why.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • I only know of one book in which the subject is adequately handled.

  • I wish that I could adequately express my thoughts about her, but I can't.


    Eliot H. Robinson

British Dictionary definitions for adequately



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 adequately

1620s, from adequate + -ly (2); originally a term in logic in reference to correspondence of ideas and objects. Meaning "suitably" is recorded from 1680s.



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