Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Deficiency or absence: Lack of funding brought the project to a halt.
  • n. A particular deficiency or absence: Owing to a lack of supporters, the reforms did not succeed.
  • transitive v. To be without or in need of: lacked the strength to lift the box.
  • intransitive v. To be missing or deficient: We suspected that he was lying, but proof was lacking.
  • intransitive v. To be in need of something: She does not lack for friends.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A defect or failing; moral or spiritual degeneracy.
  • n. A deficiency or need (of something desirable or necessary); an absence, want.
  • v. To be without, to need, to require.
  • v. To be short (of or for something).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Blame; cause of blame; fault; crime; offense.
  • n. Deficiency; want; need; destitution; failure.
  • transitive v. To blame; to find fault with.
  • transitive v. To be without or destitute of; to want; to need.
  • intransitive v. To be wanting; often, impersonally, with of, meaning, to be less than, short, not quite, etc.
  • intransitive v. To be in want.
  • interj. Exclamation of regret or surprise.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Want or deficiency of something requisite or desirable; defect; failure; need.
  • n. Want of presence; a state of being away; absence.
  • n. A want; defect; a blemish; especially, a moral defect; a fault in character.
  • n. A fault committed; an offense; a censurable act.
  • n. Blame; reproach; rebuke; censure.
  • To be wanting or deficient; come short; fail.
  • To be absent or away; be missing.
  • To be in want; suffer need.
  • To be wanting to; fail.
  • To be in want of; stand in need of; want; be without; be destitute of; fail to have or to possess.
  • To suffer the absence of; feel the deprivation of; miss.
  • To blame; reproach; speak in detraction of.
  • To beat. Also lacky.
  • Synonyms Lack, Need, Want. These words have come to overlap each other a good deal by figurative extension, and have considerable variety of peculiar idiomatic use. To lack is primarily and generally to be without, that which is lacked being generally some one thing, and a thing which is desirable, although generally not necessary or very important.
  • To pierce the hull of with shot.
  • See lac.
  • To lacquer; treat with lac.
  • Used in the exclamatory phrase Good lack. See good.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of needing something that is absent or unavailable
  • v. be without

Etymologies

Middle English, perhaps from Middle Dutch lac, deficiency, fault.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Apparently cognate with Middle Low German lak, Middle Dutch lac ( > modern lakĀ ("calumny")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In his remarks, President Obama referred again to what he called a lack of political will in Washington and an "insistence on drawing lines in the sand" that he said needs to be changed as the deficit and debt debate moves forward.

    Obama: Renewed Sense of Urgency for Debt, Deficit Reduction Amid Market Turmoil

  • He also took to task Republicans, the Tea Party and what he called the lack of shared sacrifice in both the economy and the just-passed debt ceiling bill.

    Matt Damon Rips Debt Deal, Republicans, Tea Party (VIDEO)

  • But in a brief telephone call from Athens after talks with Greek officials, Mr. Dallara expressed concern over what he called the "lack of clear process" to complete negotiations.

    Greece Scrambles to Complete Debt Talks

  • More photos and interactive graphics Escalating tensions, the Gulf Arab countries brokering negotiations between the Yemeni strongman and the wide-ranging political opposition calling for an end to his 32-year rule suspended their efforts because of what they called the "lack of appropriate conditions" for a peaceful handover of power.

    Yemen Leader Balks at Quitting

  • Tim Pawlenty, who has lagged behind in national public-opinion polls, came out swinging: He jabbed front-runner Mitt Romney, mocking his wealth, and he criticized surging fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann for what he called her lack of experience and successes.

    Debate Jolts Republican Race to Life

  • Lack of confidence During a debate in the British Parliament Thursday, Finance Minister George Osborne blamed the stock market drops on what he called a lack of confidence in ability of governments to repay their debts.

    European Markets Bounce Back After Volatile Trading

  • Marcia Angell, a Harvard Medical School senior lecturer, wrote a book called "Science on Trial" in 1996 criticizing what she called a lack of evidence behind the assertions of implant risks.

    Implants, Cancer May Be Linked

  • One of his complaints about ARC was what he called a lack of funding from New York, though the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was paying about one-third of its cost.

    Amtrak's Plan For New Tunnel Gains Support

  • Although he had to dismiss his childhood ambition to be a professional skier due to what he calls a "lack of talent," Mr. Bamber is a keen triathlete.

    Rising Stars in Resurgent Hedge Funds

  • The pope condemned a widening campaign against Christians in the Middle East in his homily at St. Peter's Basilica, echoing comments last month in which he called a lack of religious freedom a threat to world security.

    Pope denounces abuses of Christians

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