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lack

[lak]
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noun
  1. deficiency or absence of something needed, desirable, or customary: lack of money; lack of skill.
  2. something missing or needed: After he left, they really felt the lack.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to be without or deficient in: to lack ability; to lack the necessities of life.
  2. to fall short in respect of: He lacks three votes to win.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be absent or missing, as something needed or desirable: Three votes are lacking to make a majority.
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Verb Phrases
  1. lack in, to be short of or deficient in: What he lacks in brains, he makes up for in brawn.
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Origin of lack

1125–75; Middle English lak; cognate with Middle Low German lak, Middle Dutch lac deficiency; akin to Old Norse lakr deficient

Synonyms

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Synonym study

3. Lack, want, need, require as verbs all stress the absence of something desirable, important, or necessary. Lack means to be without or to have less than a desirable quantity of something: to lack courage, sufficient money, enough members to make a quorum. Want may imply some urgency in fulfilling a requirement or a desire: Willing workers are badly wanted. The room wants some final touch to make it homey. Need often suggests even more urgency than does want stressing the necessity of supplying what is lacking: to need an operation, better food, a match to light the fire. Require, which expresses necessity as strongly as need, occurs most frequently in serious or formal contexts: Your presence at the hearing is required. Successful experimentation requires careful attention to detail.

Antonyms

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


Examples from the Web for lack

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We cannot afford to do everything, nor can we afford to lack boldness as we meet the future.

  • I am willing to believe that the lack of understanding was my own fault, but a lack of understanding there was.

  • The things we lack are more vivid to us, as a rule, than those we have acquired.

  • There are consciousnesses of lack which carry more bliss than any possession.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • In the selfishness of his misery he looked upon this as lack of sympathy with himself.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for lack

lack

noun
  1. an insufficiency, shortage, or absence of something required or desired
  2. something that is required but is absent or in short supply
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verb
  1. (when intr, often foll by in or for) to be deficient (in) or have need (of)to lack purpose
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Word Origin

C12: related to Middle Dutch laken to be wanting
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 lack

n.

c.1300, "absence, want; shortage, deficiency," perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *lac, or else borrowed from Middle Dutch lak "deficiency, fault;" in either case from Proto-Germanic *laka- (cf. Old Frisian lek "disadvantage, damage," Old Norse lakr "lacking"), from PIE *leg- "to dribble, trickle." Middle English also had lackless "without blame or fault."

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v.

late 12c., perhaps from Middle Dutch laken "to be wanting," from lak (n.) "deficiency, fault," or an unrecorded native cognate word (see lack (n.)). Related: Lacked; lacking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper