Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

inadequacy - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun inadequacy pronunciation in British English /ɪnˈædɪkwəsi/
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [uncountable] the failure to be of the quantity or quality needed for a particular purpose

    These statistics show the total inadequacy of the present oil reserves.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] a lack of confidence that makes someone feel they are not good enough to deal with a particular situation or with life in general

    He was suffering from a deep sense of inadequacy.

  3. 3
    [countable] a fault in someone or something that prevents them from reaching the standard that is needed or expected

    a report highlighting the inadequacies of the tax system

    Synonyms and related words


a title used before a man or woman's name as a gender-neutral alternative to Mr, Ms, etc

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


another way of saying congratulations, or that something/someone looks nice or fascinating

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play