lack [lak] /læk/ Show IPA
verb phrase 1
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.
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.