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Apparently cognate with Middle Low German lak, Middle Dutch lac (Dutch lak (calumny)), Old Norse lakr (lacking), ultimately all from Proto-Germanic *laka-.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /lak/
  • (US) IPA(key): /læk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æk


lack (countable and uncountable, plural lacks)

  1. (obsolete) A defect or failing; moral or spiritual degeneracy.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      In the old days, to my commonplace and unobserving mind, he gave no evidences of genius whatsoever. He never read me any of his manuscripts, […], and therefore my lack of detection of his promise may in some degree be pardoned.
  2. A deficiency or need (of something desirable or necessary); an absence, want.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1,[1]
      [] let his lack of years be no impediment to let him lack a reverend estimation;
    • 1994, Green Day, Basket Case
      I went to a shrink, to analyze my dreams. He said it's lack of sex that's bringing me down.
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, “Moldova 0-5 England”, in BBC Sport:
      If Moldova harboured even the slightest hopes of pulling off a comeback that would have bordered on miraculous given their lack of quality, they were snuffed out 13 minutes before the break when Oxlade-Chamberlain picked his way through midfield before releasing Defoe for a finish that should have been dealt with more convincingly by Namasco at his near post.




lack (third-person singular simple present lacks, present participle lacking, simple past and past participle lacked)

  1. (transitive) To be without, to need, to require.
    My life lacks excitement.
  2. (intransitive) To be short (of or for something).
    He'll never lack for company while he's got all that money.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To be in want.
  4. (obsolete) To see the deficiency in (someone or something); to find fault with, to malign, reproach.
    • c. 1385, William Langland, Piers Plowman, II:
      That is Mede þe Mayde quod she · hath noyed me ful oft / And ylakked my lemman.

Related termsEdit






lack n

  1. lacquer


Declension of lack 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative lack lacket lacker lackerna
Genitive lacks lackets lackers lackernas

Related termsEdit