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I often found it hard to use "devoid" naturally and correctly. And most of the times it seems to me that replacing "devoid" by "lacking" sounds more natural.

The question is lacking meaning
The question is devoid of meaning

What is the difference for these two sentences? Do they mean the exact same thing?

Devoid seems to be a very strong word to me and it seems like it is suggesting that something had happened which removes something from something. And it seems that the same connotation does not apply to lacking. Am I correct?

  • "lack" is a verb or a noun, but "devoid" is an adjective. – herisson Mar 29 '15 at 16:57
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    Have you consulted a dictionary, Alan? If so please include the results of that research in your OP, and then tell us what remains uncertain about the difference between these words. – user98990 Mar 29 '15 at 16:58
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    This question seems devoid of all research. Due to this lack of research I expect it will be placed on hold until the question can be improved. – Jim Mar 29 '15 at 17:01
  • This house is devoid of decor/this house lacks decor/this house is lacking in decor. – Anonym Mar 29 '15 at 17:04
  • Thank you for the comments. actually I should have made my question clearer. What I am unsure about is something like: The question is lacking meaning; The question is devoid of meaning What is the difference for these two sentences? Do they mean the exact same thing? Wh I am not sure how to clearly express myself, sorry – Alan Mar 29 '15 at 17:09
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When we say something is devoid of this or that, we mean that it is completely lacking this or that. When we speak of a lack of something, we usually do not mean a total absence.

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Wrt your two critical expressions:

At Google Books

question lacks meaning About 83 results

question is devoid of meaning About 54 results

have comparable frequencies and meanings, but the 2nd has more emphasis.

In order to see that, take a look at "devoid" on this page of the best source for separating synonyms:

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated ...

shows entire want or lack

stresses the absence or the nonpossession of a particular quality, character, or tendency

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