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Origin of enough

before 900; Middle English enogh,Old English genōh; cognate with German genug,Gothic ganohs,Old Norse nōgr; akin to Old English geneah it suffices, Sanskrit naśati (he) reaches
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of enough?

Enough is an adjective that describes something that is adequate for an intended purpose. Enough is also used as an adverb to mean sufficiently or fully. Enough also has senses as a pronoun and an interjection.

Enough describes something as being adequate or sufficient. If you have enough of something, you have at least met the minimum requirement.

  • Real-life examples: If you have enough money to buy food, you won’t run out of money when you purchase it, though you might not have a lot of money left afterwards. If you have enough points to pass a test, you won’t fail the test but you won’t get an A, either.
  • Used in a sentence: We had 15 people show up, enough to form our basketball team.

As an adverb, enough means in a degree that is satisfactory. This sense is often used in the negative to mean something failed to meet expectations or was insufficient.

  • Real-life examples: If your boss doesn’t think you work hard enough, they may fire you. If you practice the violin enough, you may become better at playing it.
  • Used in a sentence: The door was just wide enough to fit the couch through it. 

Enough is also used to mean fully, quite, or plenty. This sense is used to describe a situation where something has met the maximum requirement and anything more is unnecessary. This sense is not used in the negative.

  • Real-life examples: If you can pay all your bills and go on vacation, you can say you earn enough. You know you’ve studied enough when you can answer all the practice questions correctly.
  • Used in a sentence: She decided the dog had eaten enough and took the food bowl away.

Where does enough come from?

The first records of enough come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English word genōh and is related to the German genug and the Old Norse nōgr.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for enough?

What are some words that share a root or word element with enough

What are some words that often get used in discussing enough?

How is enough used in real life?

Enough is a very common word that refers to an acceptable amount of something.

Try using enough!

True or False?

$10 is enough money to buy a shirt that costs $8.

How to use enough in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for enough

/ (ɪˈnʌf) /

  1. sufficient to answer a need, demand, supposition, or requirement; adequateenough cake
  2. (as pronoun)enough is now known
that's enough! that will do: used to put an end to an action, speech, performance, etc
so as to be adequate or sufficient; as much as necessaryyou have worked hard enough
(not used with a negative) very or quite; rathershe was pleased enough to see me
(intensifier)oddly enough; surprisingly enough
just adequately; tolerablyhe did it well enough

Word Origin for enough

Old English genōh; related to Old Norse gnōgr, Gothic ganōhs, Old High German ginuog
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with enough


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.