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See more synonyms for inadequate on Thesaurus.com
  1. not adequate or sufficient; inept or unsuitable.
  2. Psychiatry. ineffectual in response to emotional, social, intellectual, and physical demands in the absence of any obvious mental or physical deficiency.
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Origin of inadequate

First recorded in 1665–75; in-3 + adequate
Related formsin·ad·e·quate·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for inadequate on Thesaurus.com
1. inapt, incompetent; incommensurate; defective, imperfect, incomplete.


1. sufficient.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inadequately

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I realise how vague is this expression and how inadequately it explains my meaning.


    Anatole France

  • "You—you should have a law against you," he answered bitterly and inadequately.

  • With what glib facility they describe, but how inadequately they convey.

    The Friendly Road

    (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker

  • The men were without instruction, and inadequately armed and equipped.

  • He seems to have appreciated but inadequately the significance of the medical evidence.

British Dictionary definitions for inadequately


  1. not adequate; insufficient
  2. not capable or competent; lacking
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Derived Formsinadequacy, nouninadequately, adverb
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 inadequately



1670s; see in- (1) "not, opposite of" + adequate. Related: Inadequately.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper