Meaning of LACK in English


I. ˈlak, chiefly southern US dial ˈlīk verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English laken, from Middle Dutch, to be lacking, to blame; akin to Middle Dutch lac lack, fault

intransitive verb

1. : to be wanting or missing : fail

nothing is lacking but the will

space lacks for a linguistic analysis — Eric Partridge

the sense of distance lacks; a ridge nearby can be a far-off mountain range — Paul Bowles

2. : to want supply or satisfaction : be short

enjoined the tapster to see to it that no one lacked for his thirst — Arnold Bennett

such language is comparatively lacking in responsibility — R.M.Weaver

transitive verb

1. : to be void or destitute of : be without or deficient in

what … the church lacks is democracy — Leo Pfeffer

lacked the ability to become a great singer — W.J.Reilly

this statement, like all simple statements, lacks detail — Charlton Laird

her voice may be flexible enough, but lacks the requisite strength — Lafcadio Hearn

2. obsolete : to feel the absence of : miss

you're loved, sir. They that least lend it you shall lack you first — Shakespeare

3. : to stand in need of : require , want — used formerly in the vendor's cry what do you lack?


lack , want , need , and require can imply the absence of something, especially essential or to be desired. lack implies such an absence, especially due to shortage of supply

blankets were made of sage bark cords when rabbit skins were lacking — C.D.Forde

a delicacy of design that larger houses often lack — American Guide Series: New Hampshire

many languages lack grammatical person entirely — Weston La Barre

want in this application stresses a deplorable lack or adds to lack the idea of pressing desire or urgent necessity

an age wanting in moral grandeur — Matthew Arnold

an American truck that wanted only a few repairs — Richard Llewellyn

poverty-stricken and wanting even the necessities of existence

need is used more commonly than want in this context to stress necessity

what the business and industrial world most need and seek — R.W.McEwen

assist an increasing number of American families in finding the things they need and want — Annual Report J. C. Penney Corp.

both of these bridges are badly needed — Americana Annual

it only needed that the letter should be correctly addressed — H.E.Scudder

need food and clothing

require , similar to if not stronger than need in implying necessity, can also suggest the importunity of urgent desire or craving

he found his studies too easy to require serious attention — E.S.Bates

so ill as to require constant attendance

the continuing deficit requires either higher rates or a sales tax — New Republic

the reactor requires radically new metals to withstand great heats — Tris Coffin

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English lac, from Middle Dutch, lack, fault; akin to Middle Low German lak lack, error, Old Norse lakr lacking, defective, Old Frisian lec damage, Old Norse leka to leak — more at leak

1. : the fact or state of being wanting or deficient : inadequate or missing supply or provision : deficiency , failure , want

explain the comparative lack of simian fossils — R.W.Murray

lack of true insight into human passion — A.T.Quiller-Couch

2. : that which is lacking : the thing needed

green forage is a lack of desert regions

Synonyms: see absence


variant of lac

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.