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
show 10 types...
hide 10 types...
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

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.