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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

See more synonyms for lack on Thesaurus.com
1. dearth, scarcity, paucity, deficit, insufficiency. 1, 3. want, need.

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

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

Examples from the Web for lacked

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • What the minister lacked, Cornelia had; Cornelia lacked nothing.

  • Janet, be it remembered, lacked but two years of the fatal age.

  • Assured that it was only a wife that Timmins lacked, he sighed relief.

  • Some things he lacked: he hadn't no immagination at all, not one speck.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 6.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • The Professor had genius, but lacked the great social virtue of resignation.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for lacked

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 lacked

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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lack

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