a. Inadequacy or insufficiency: a deficit in grain production.
b. A deficiency or impairment in mental or physical functioning.
a. The amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required or expected amount; a shortage: large budget deficits.
b. A business loss.
3. An amount that quantifies an unfavorable condition or position: rallied from a three-game deficit to win the playoffs.
[French déficit, from Latin dēficit, it is lacking, third person sing. present tense of dēficere, to fail, be lacking; see DEFECT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.