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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 for lacks
  • We have complained that he lacks precision: it must be added that he loves adjectives, and adjectives in the superlative degree.
  • He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle.
  • The city lacks ostentatious palaces, temples, or monuments.
  • As a result, it lacks the resolution of data recorded directly from brain cells.
  • Unlike the giant squid or the leopard seal, it lacks an aura of mystery and menace.
  • The animal lacks even true eyes but it does have an incredible, and somewhat disgusting, defense mechanism.
  • Thin, with dark blue sides and a narrow band along the spine, the so-called dwarf fossorial snake lacks fangs and venom.
  • But what the crest lacks in height, it makes up in ruggedness.
  • Oh yeah, and the book also lacks the ominous voice-over and music.
  • For stories, though, you have access to information that the character lacks.
British Dictionary definitions for lacks

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
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Word Origin and History for lacks

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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