The amount by which the government’s budget outlays exceed its budget receipts for a given period, usually a fiscal year.
SOURCE: U.S. Government Accountability Office
See also: Balanced budget; Budget surplus
FAQ: What's the difference between the debt and the deficit?
National Debt Glossary
Looks up the key terms for understanding America's financial crisis
Frequently Asked Questions: National Debt
- How did the national debt get to be so big?
- What's the difference between the debt and the deficit?
- Why can't the government just print more money to get out of debt?
- How much U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries?