- lacking some element or characteristic; defective: deficient in taste.
- insufficient; inadequate: deficient knowledge.
- a person who is deficient, especially one who is mentally defective.
Origin of deficient
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for deficient
This view might have been considered rather tame than otherwise, deficient in what landscape painters call “life.”David's Bookclub: Bartleby the Scrivener
November 26, 2012
Is there something, er, deficient about the type of guy who earns a living saving lives, succoring the sick, abetting the needy?Doctors as Doormats in the David Petraeus Scandal
November 14, 2012
Sometimes he is sure she is deficient in understanding, and at others that her temper only is in fault.Lady Susan
Sir John was not, on his side, deficient in attention to his own interests.Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)
By that good lady the Houris are said to be held in deficient esteem.The Devil's Dictionary
Not to be deficient in interest, Clennam asked what he might be doing there?Little Dorrit
He might as well say that John Bunyan was deficient in ethical instincts.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
- lacking some essential; incomplete; defective
- inadequate in quantity or supply; insufficient
C16: from Latin dēficiēns lacking, from dēficere to fall short; see defect
Word Origin and History for deficient
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Lacking an essential quality or element.
- Inadequate in amount or degree; insufficient.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.