Tom remains underfunded to start up a business.

The context is that this man has an excellent business plan and entrepreneurial spirit. But the bank wouldn't lend him money in absence of collateral.

In my view, the word "underfunded" properly stresses the fact that Tom lacks capital. However, according to Collins Dictionary, this word in most cases modify an organization or services. Are there any words that would fit in better?

To clarify, Tom LACKS enough funding. Still, he may turn to other institutions other than banks, a solution not very practical because the former ones charge exorbitantly high interest rate.

  • 2
    A quick google search tells me unfunded refers to not getting any funding and underfunded refers to inadequacy of funds. So is Tom unable to raise any money at all, or is he looking to raise additional money? Adding a clarification to your question will likely help you get better answers. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 7:21
  • 2
    No online thesaurus has an entry for this word. Maybe undercapitalized will work, but that seems to mean "A business that has insufficient capital to carry out its normal functions". Or underfinanced.
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 7:21
  • @BillFranke: Are you sure? According to the OED, it means provide with insufficient funding.
    – Noah
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 7:33
  • 1
    @Noah: No, I'm not sure, which is why I said "maybe". The best word is probably broke followed by dirt poor, but those aren't business-speak. Certainly, though, Tom is underfinanced and undercapitalized simply because he doesn't have enough money to even begin his business or secure a loan. Words may have denotations in the dictionary, but when they are used in the real world, they take on the meaning provided by the context in which they are used. Sometimes arguing about the meaning of a term is pointless: Just stipulate a meaning and that's what it means. Simple.
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 8:15

2 Answers 2


I can’t think of any adjectives that would convey the same sense and meaning as underfunding in the context you’re using.

However capital would be a more appropriate word to use, given your context –

From OED –

capital, adj. and n.2

Real or financial assets possessing a monetary value; the stock with which a company, corporation, or individual enters into business; the total sum of shareholders' contributions in a joint-stock company;

And in phrase use –

capital funding n.

(a) capital raised by a business or company from lenders or shareholders;
(b) funding for capital or fixed assets.

Used in your context –

Tom lacks capital funding to start up a business.

  • FWIW, Google Books has 7 instances of he is underfunded, and as many again with the component words split by a space or hypen. That's against a total of 67 for he is undercapitalised/undercapitalized (plus another 10 for the "split" versions). I think they're all perfectly valid in OP's context - but small as they are - those figures do tend to back you up in saying capital is more appropriate. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 13:47
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, I think the word capital is the correct word for his business context. However, undercapitalisation does imply that the business already exists and lacks funding rather than insufficient funding to it get started in which case I think the phrase lacks capital funding... implies the correct meaning within that context. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 13:53
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    I agree - I only did those GB searches to establish that capitalised is actually more likely than funded in the context of an individual. But there are so many variants applicable to OP's case (where the business doesn't even exist yet) that it would be impractical to search for them. Personally I'd probably say "Tom is unable to secure start-up capital for his business [plan]". Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 14:12
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers Yes, I like the phrase start-up capital that implies precisely the right meaning. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 15:02

Any adjective meaning poor, prefixed by too is fine.

too poor

too hard-up

too cash-strapped

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