Skip to main content

Lack vs Want vs Dearth vs Absence vs Defect vs Privation

Lackwantdearthabsencedefectprivation are comparable when denoting the fact or state of being without something.

Lack is somewhat ambiguous in scope since it may imply either a total or a partial failure of something that in the circumstances might be expected to be present and often requires qualification to make its intent unequivocal.

Want (see also POVERTY ) may imply either a partial or a complete lack but its range of application is far narrower than that of lack since it specifically applies to deficiencies of what is essential or at least needed or desirable; thus, one may exhibit either a want or a lack of tact; there may be a complete lack , rather than want, of pain immediately after some injuries.

Dearth implies an often distressingly inadequate supply rather than a complete lack.

Absence is perhaps the most unequivocal of these terms; when not qualified it denotes the complete lack of something or that something or occasionally someone is not present.

Defect (see also BLEMISH ) implies the absence or lack of something required for completeness (as in form) or effectiveness (as in function).

Privation in the sense pertinent here (see also POVERTY ) is used primarily in certain philosophical definitions of negative qualities or states as absences of the corresponding positives.