Definition of deficit in English:


Syllabification: def·i·cit
Pronunciation: /ˈdefəsət


1The amount by which something, especially a sum of money, is too small.
More example sentences
  • The fund will absorb the deficit in the Rover pension scheme, which officially stands at £67.6m.
  • The pension scheme, which had a deficit amounting to some £80m, was part of this restructuring.
  • The company doubled its input last year to £225m, but the deficit in its fund rose by roughly the same amount.
shortfall, deficiency, shortage, debt, arrears;
negative amount, loss
1.1An excess of expenditure or liabilities over income or assets in a given period: an annual operating deficit the budget will remain in deficit
More example sentences
  • Smurfit was in deficit at its last year-end, so its position is likely to have got a lot worse.
  • Wartime was a period of massive fiscal deficits and huge current account surpluses.
  • For several countries, reducing their annual budget deficits to below 3% of gross domestic product will be the first big hurdle.
1.2(In sports) the amount or score by which a team or individual is losing: came back from a 3-0 deficit
More example sentences
  • Boys Club still had fight in them and Nicky Pearson scored to cut the deficit to one goal again but despite plenty of pressure they could not force extra time.
  • That didn't work as the team dug itself into a double-digit deficit in the division.
  • Now back within two, Croatia made the most of its next power play to cut the deficit to one on a score by Samir Barac.
1.3 technical A deficiency or failing, especially in a neurological or psychological function: deficits in speech comprehension
More example sentences
  • Moffitt suggested these difficulties were linked to neurological deficits in verbal regulation of behaviour and in executive functioning.
  • Both in utero exposures to maternal smoking and asthma are associated with chronic deficits in lung function.
  • It is possible that the deficits in lung function in persistent and transient wheezers may have already been present at a much younger age.


late 18th century: via French from Latin deficit 'it is lacking', from the verb deficere (see defect1).

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Word of the day deictic
Pronunciation: ˈdeɪktɪk
denoting a word whose meaning depends on context...