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

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

1. dearth, scarcity, paucity, deficit, insufficiency. 1, 3. want, need. 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.

1. surplus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lack (læk)
1.  an insufficiency, shortage, or absence of something required or desired
2.  something that is required but is absent or in short supply
vb (when intr, often foll by in or for)
3.  to be deficient (in) or have need (of): to lack purpose
[C12: related to Middle Dutch laken to be wanting]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, may have existed as unrecorded O.E. *lac or else it was borrowed from M.Du. lak "deficiency, fault;" in either case from P.Gmc. *laka- (cf. O.N. lakr "lacking"). The verb is attested earlier, late 12c., but is considered to be from the noun. Related: Lacking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


sticky, resinous secretion of the tiny lac insect, Laccifer lacca, which is a species of scale insect. This insect deposits lac on the twigs and young branches of several varieties of soapberry and acacia trees and particularly on the sacred fig, Ficus religiosa, in India, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The lac is harvested predominantly for the production of shellac (q.v.) and lac dye, a red dye widely used in India and other Asian countries. Forms of lac, including shellac, are the only commercial resins of animal origin

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
To compensate for lack of yard space, the home has as many outdoor rooms as it
  does indoor.
Then factor in a lack of strict building codes and an acceptance of alternative
It is interesting in this connection to note that he confesses his lack of
  patience for verification.
There was a lack of perspective in his every estimate.
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