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lack

[lak] /læk/
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.
verb (used with object)
3.
to be without or deficient in:
to lack ability; to lack the necessities of life.
4.
to fall short in respect of:
He lacks three votes to win.
verb (used without object)
5.
to be absent or missing, as something needed or desirable:
Three votes are lacking to make a majority.
Verb phrases
6.
lack in, to be short of or deficient in:
What he lacks in brains, he makes up for in brawn.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English lak; cognate with Middle Low German lak, Middle Dutch lac deficiency; akin to Old Norse lakr deficient
Synonyms
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.
Antonyms
1. surplus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for lack
  • To compensate for lack of yard space, the home has as many outdoor rooms as it does indoor.
  • If the containers lack drain holes in the bottom, drill them or ask the seller to do that.
  • Then factor in a lack of strict building codes and an acceptance of alternative viewpoints.
  • It is interesting in this connection to note that he confesses his lack of patience for verification.
  • They lack sharpness of outline, finesse, and that sense of reality which makes of a tale an actual piece of human life.
  • There was a lack of perspective in his every estimate.
  • With much that is vigorous and interesting, there is a lack of connection.
  • My problem is that my advisor insists upon adding a negative line in my recommendation letter about my lack of success.
  • Some audience members also lamented the lack of financial support for foreign-language programs on college campuses.
  • News articles have described students' lack of political engagement and tried to evaluate the reasons for it.
British Dictionary definitions for lack

lack

/læk/
noun
1.
an insufficiency, shortage, or absence of something required or desired
2.
something that is required but is absent or in short supply
verb
3.
when intr, often foll by in or for. to be deficient (in) or have need (of): to lack purpose
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
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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."

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for lack

lac

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

Learn more about lac with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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