lack


lack
lack vb Lack, want, need, require are comparable when meaning to be without something, especially something essential or greatly to be desired.
Lack may imply either an absence or a shortage in the supply or amount of that something
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the house lacks a back stairway

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the army lacked tanks and airplanes as well as rifles

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they are not lacking in food or comforts

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good counselors lack no clients— Shak.

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what he lacks in knowledge he can make up for by talking fast— Chase

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Want frequently adds to lack the implication of urgent necessity and may be difficult to distinguish from its sense connoting longing (see under DESIRE vb)
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the oldest . . . showing incipient moustaches and long hairs on the face that wanted a razor— Sacheverell Sitwell

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everything was dingy and wanted paint— Crofts

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For this reason need may be preferred when a clear connotation of urgent necessity is desirable
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he cannot get the rest he needs

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Need usually throws the emphasis on urgent necessity rather than on absence or shortage, though both implications are often present
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that family needs food and clothing

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the country needs the services and support of every citizen

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the letter needs no reply, but it would be courteous to acknowledge it

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that woman needs a lesson, Gideon. She's a public nuisance— Rose Macaulay

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needs vicarious compensations and manages to find them in the gossip columns— Huxley

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implements sorely needed by the British in the construction of vessels— Breck

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Require (see also DEMAND) is often interchangeable with need but it may heighten the implication of urgent necessity
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great acts require great means of enterprise— Milton

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the Doctor . . . required a few days of complete rest— Dickens

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Contrasted words: *have, hold, possess, own, enjoy
lack n Lack, want, dearth, absence, defect, privation are comparable when denoting the fact or state of being without something.
Lack is somewhat ambiguous in scope since it may imply either a total or a partial failure of something that in the circumstances might be expected to be present and often requires qualification to make its intent unequivocal
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with a complete lack of bloodshed, the republic was proclaimed— William Tate

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

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there is a slackening, a lack of faith in the pioneer dream that everyone may be rich, free, and powerful— Lord

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Want (see also POVERTY) may imply either a partial or a complete lack but its range of application is far narrower than that of lack since it specifically applies to deficiencies of what is essential or at least needed or desirable; thus, one may exhibit either a want or a lack of tact; there may be a complete lack, rather than want, of pain immediately after some injuries
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showed a certain want of courtesy

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war production occasionally suffered from want of hands to tend the machines or harvest the crops— Handlin

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an utter and radical want of the adapting or constructive power which the drama so imperatively demands— Poe

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Dearth implies an often distressingly inadequate supply rather than a complete lack
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her vanity, dearth of brains, and excessive sentimentality were compensated by her kindness— Simmons

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there were six seasons of dearth approaching famine— Van Valkenburg & Huntington

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there is no dearth of simple violence in San Antonio— Green Peyton

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Absence is perhaps the most unequivocal of these terms; when not qualified it denotes the complete lack of something
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the prolonged absence of rain

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or that something or occasionally someone is not present
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in the absence of his father the boy managed the farm

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the general absence of undergrowth was understood... to have resulted from repeated Indian-set fires— R. H. Brown

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the confusion resulting from the absence of a critical discriminating attitude in the discussion of religion— Cohen

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Defect (see also BLEMISH) implies the absence or lack of something required for completeness (as in form) or effectiveness (as in function)
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be mine the privilege to supplement defect, give dumbness voice— Browning

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defect in a work [of art] is always traceable ultimately to an excess on one side or the other, injuring the integration of matter and form— Dewey

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there are certain obvious and superficial defects in this poem .... But merit easily outweighs defectDay Lewis

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Privation in the sense pertinent here (see also POVERTY) is used primarily in certain philosophical definitions of negative qualities or states as absences of the corresponding positives
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cold is the privation of heat

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St. Thomas regards evil as privation. In so far as a thing acts according to its nature, which is good, it cannot cause evil— Thilly

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dialectical terms ... are terms standing for concepts, which are defined by their negatives or their privations— R. M. Weaver

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negative facts or states of affairs ... seem clearly to be absences, lacks, or privations, and as such devoid of any properties which could possibly render them apprehensible in experience— Richard Taylor

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Analogous words: *need, necessity, exigency: deficiency (see corresponding adjective DEFICIENT): exhaustion, impoverishment, draining, depletion (see corresponding verbs at DEPLETE)
Contrasted words: abundance, ampleness, copiousness, plentifulness, plenteousness or plenty (see corresponding adjectives at PLENTIFUL): *excess, superfluity, surplus

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lack — Lack …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • lack — I verb be bereft of, be deficient, be deprived of, be desirous, be destitute, be in need, be in want, be inadequate, be inferior, be insufficient, be needy, be poor, be wanting, be without, crave, desiderate, desire, fall short, feel a dearth,… …   Law dictionary

  • lack — ⇒LACK, subst. masc. Vieilli. Unité de compte en Perse et en Inde. Lack de roupies. Cent mille roupies. Le riche nabab qui (...) rêve au monceau d or de ses lacks de roupies (COPPÉE, Poés., t. 2, 1883, p. 244). Prononc. et Orth. : [lak]. Att. ds… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Lack — [lak], der; [e]s, e: [farbloses] flüssiges Gemisch, mit dem z. B. Möbel angestrichen werden und das nach dem Trocknen einen glänzenden Überzug bildet: farbloser, roter, schnell trocknender Lack; der Lack springt ab, blättert ab, bekommt Risse. *… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • lack — Ⅰ. lack UK US /læk/ noun [S or U] ► a situation in which there is not enough of something, or something is not available: serious/severe lack of sth »Many of these communities are having to cope with a severe lack of resources. » Lack of time is… …   Financial and business terms

  • lack — verb. The use with for meaning ‘to be short of something’ in negative contexts seems to have originated in the 19c: • If you are inclined to undertake the search, I have so provided that you will not lack for means Rider Haggard, 1887 • Here s… …   Modern English usage

  • Lack — (l[a^]k), n. [OE. lak; cf. D. lak slander, laken to blame, OHG. lahan, AS. le[ a]n.] 1. Blame; cause of blame; fault; crime; offense. [Obs.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. Deficiency; want; need; destitution; failure; as, a lack of sufficient food.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lack — Lack, v. i. 1. To be wanting; often, impersonally, with of, meaning, to be less than, short, not quite, etc. [1913 Webster] What hour now? I think it lacks of twelve. Shak. [1913 Webster] Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty. Gen. xvii …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lack — Sm std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus it. lacca f., das über arab. lakk und pers. lāk auf pāli lākhā f. zurückgeht. Dieses aus ai. lākṣā f. Lack , das wohl zu ai. rájyati färbt sich, rötet sich gehört, also eigentlich (rote) Färbung . Der… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Lack — Lack, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Lacked} (l[a^]kt); p. pr. & vb. n. {Lacking}.] 1. To blame; to find fault with. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Love them and lakke them not. Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster] 2. To be without or destitute of; to want; to need. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English