• synonyms


[in-suh-fish-uh n-see]
See more synonyms for insufficiency on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural in·suf·fi·cien·cies for 2.
  1. deficiency in amount, force, power, competence, or fitness; inadequacy: insufficiency of supplies.
  2. an instance of this.
  3. inability of an organ or other part of the body to function normally: cardiac insufficiency.
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Also in·suf·fi·cience.

Origin of insufficiency

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word insufficientia. See insufficient, -ency
Related formsself-in·suf·fi·cien·cy, noun, plural self·-in·suf·fi·cien·cies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for insufficiency

paucity, deficiency, inadequacy, inability, incompetency, dearth

Examples from the Web for insufficiency

Historical Examples of insufficiency

  • His want of success arose from the insufficiency, not the fallacy, of theory.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • The insufficiency, the inadequacy of his staff and of chief-of-staff.

  • It is conscious of their ultimate identity and their present insufficiency.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • And then the vanity of it, the cruelty and insufficiency of it!

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • The former says of himself that he was 'stopped of his degree for dulness and insufficiency.'

    The Curse of Education

    Harold E. Gorst

British Dictionary definitions for insufficiency


  1. Also called: insufficience the state of being insufficient
  2. pathol failure in the functioning of an organ, tissue, etccardiac insufficiency
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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 insufficiency


1520s, from Late Latin insufficientia, noun of quality from insufficientem (see insufficient). Insufficience "deficiency" is from early 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insufficiency in Medicine


  1. An inability of a bodily part or an organ to function normally.
  2. A moral or mental incompetence.
  3. An inadequate supply.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.