• synonyms


[def-uh-sit; British also dih-fis-it]
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  1. the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount.
  2. the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceed income or assets.
  3. a lack or shortage; deficiency.
  4. a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap: The team's major deficit is its poor pitching.
  5. a loss, as in the operation of a business.
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Origin of deficit

1775–85; < Latin dēficit (it) lacks, 3rd person singular present indicative of dēficere; see deficient
Related formssu·per·def·i·cit, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for deficit

loss, shortfall, scantiness, default, lack, inadequacy, paucity, deficiency, insufficiency, shortcoming, arrears, dues, defalcation, underage

Examples from the Web for deficit

Contemporary Examples of deficit

Historical Examples of deficit

British Dictionary definitions for deficit


  1. 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
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Word Origin for deficit

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

Word Origin and History for deficit


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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

deficit in Medicine


  1. A lack or deficiency of a substance.
  2. A lack or impairment in mental or physical functioning.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

deficit in Culture


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

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