An inadequacy is something that is not enough. If you get a bad grade, it may reveal an inadequacy in your approach to studying.

The syllable qua in inadequacy rhymes with duh, and the accent is on the second syllable: "in-AD-uh-quh-see." You know that in- means "not," and the suffix y means "the quality or state of." But what is that middle part? Adaequare is the Latin word for "to make equal." So, inadequacy is the state of not being equal — or enough — for something.

Definitions of inadequacy

n a lack of competence

“juvenile offenses often reflect an inadequacy in the parents”
Type of:
failing, weakness
a flaw or weak point

n unsatisfactoriness by virtue of being inadequate

adequacy, adequateness
the quality of being able to meet a need satisfactorily: "he questioned the adequacy of the usual sentimental interpretation of the Golden Rule"
Type of:
the quality of being inadequate or unsuitable

n lack of an adequate quantity or number

“the inadequacy of unemployment benefits”
deficiency, insufficiency
adequacy, sufficiency
the quality of being sufficient for the end in view
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exiguity, leanness, meagerness, meagreness, poorness, scantiness, scantness
the quality of being meager
deficit, shortage, shortfall
the property of being an amount by which something is less than expected or required
scarceness, scarcity
a small and inadequate amount
the quality of being slight or inadequate
meagerness or poorness connoted by a superfluity of water (in a literary style as well as in a food)
restricted to bare necessities
oxygen deficit
temporary oxygen shortage in cells resulting from strenuous exercise
spareness, sparseness, sparsity, thinness
the property of being scanty or scattered; lacking denseness
dearth, paucity
an insufficient quantity or number
infrequency, rareness, rarity
noteworthy scarcity
Type of:
the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion