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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

Synonyms for inadequate

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Antonyms for inadequate

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

Related Words for inadequately

partially, badly, incompetently, incompletely, ineffectively, inefficiently, meagerly, partly, ineffectually, ineptly, perfunctorily, scantily

Examples from the Web for inadequately

Contemporary Examples of inadequately

Historical Examples of inadequately

  • 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