The phrase in arabic is 'مقصر في شيء', it literally means 'deficient in something'. So for example, if a wife said it about her husband, it would mean that he's doing some of what is asked and expected of him, but not enough, or not to her liking. A friend can also say it to a friend, it may mean that he hasn't asked about his health, work or even life as often as usual; he is not caring as is expected of him.

It can also mean not helping, not being there, a lack of presence, a lack of doing what you should be doing towards someone/something.

A government or a company can also be a victim of this, towards their people and employees respectively.

It's a criticism, usually said out of love.

  • Hi @mahpack, please can you describe what you mean by your last sentence "It's a critique, usually said out of love". – Karasinsky Jul 10 '15 at 1:47
  • What are you asking? Whether there's an English equivalent? – deadrat Jul 10 '15 at 1:57
  • @karasinsky, sorry I just edited it. Is it clear now? – mahpack Jul 10 '15 at 2:01
  • Yes, that is what I am asking @deadrat – mahpack Jul 10 '15 at 2:02
  • @mahpack, thanks for the edit. I'm also a little unclear about "said out of love" though. – Karasinsky Jul 10 '15 at 2:04

fall short of might encompass what you're after.

fall short of: fail to satisfy, as of expectations. (thefreedictionary.com)

How was I supposed to know I was doing something wrong or falling short of her expectations as a friend if she didn't say a word?


Stubborn comes to mind.

You're so stubborn, why won't you come to the zoo with us?!

My wife is so stubborn because she refuses to finish her education.

This child is so stubborn. He will not eat his broccoli.



Inconsistent, Capricious, or Unreliable come to mind. But since you mentioned its done out of love, I think inconsistent would work work pretty well.


When it is said by the person who is not doing something enough as you expect, or not doing as s/he should be/want to, it usually means that I care about you and I'm aware that I had not been caring enough - in an apologetic tone.

However, when it is said by the person who expects the care but not getting it, it is more like reproach s/he would say: You'd been negligent

Caring: painstaking or watchful attention

negligent: failing to exercise the care expected of a reasonably prudent person in like circumstances


The term "half-assed" is used in US English to suggest an work product that is inferior, lacking, or wanting in some quality or characteristic.



Do (something) with little effort or care: "they half-assed the redesign"


Done with little effort or care: "he did a half-ass job"

  • If you are looking for an expression, you could also use "phoning it in" to suggest a lack of effort or commitment. – Erin John Levins Sep 6 '15 at 2:05

If I felt this way about someone close I might say they are neglectful or neglecting me. This implies that they have a responsibility to provide some sort of support, and are failing to do so, and it's often said of a parent or spouse who fails to provide proper support to their dependents.

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