thank·​less | \ ˈthaŋk-ləs How to pronounce thankless (audio) \

Definition of thankless

1 : not likely to obtain thanks : unappreciated a thankless task
2 : not expressing or feeling gratitude : ungrateful how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child— William Shakespeare

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Other Words from thankless

thanklessly adverb
thanklessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for thankless


unappreciative, ungrateful


appreciative, grateful, obliged, thankful

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Examples of thankless in a Sentence

a thankless boss who seems oblivious to the extra effort his subordinates have made the thankless job of cleaning up after a party

Recent Examples on the Web

More often than not, the thankless grunt work carried out by offensive linemen on a football field goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Theo Lawson, The Seattle Times, "Mike Leach praises freshman OL Abraham Lucas: ‘One of the best offensive linemen in the conference’," 6 Nov. 2018 Paul Ryan then stepped in to perform the thankless duty of being trashed by backbenchers in safe seats and Never Trumpers from the moral high ground of the bleachers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Minority Leader’s Only Job," 14 Nov. 2018 So who might take this important — and thankless — Facebook job? Kurt Wagner, Recode, "The social networking giant is on a hunt all over the globe for a new head of policy and communications.," 10 Oct. 2018 Jason Seaman represents the best of us, an adult with brains and talent who chose a mostly thankless career with long hours and little pay. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: As Noblesville hero Jason Seaman heals, a community heals with him," 28 May 2018 Among the more ridiculous elements in the script: the extent to which Diane’s adult daughters (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton, in thankless parts) treat her like a child who’s unable to care for herself. Jocelyn Noveck, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Uneven ‘Book Club’ is both sweet and hokey," 17 May 2018 Typically, though, Holaday’s role is a thankless one. Matthew Defranks,, "Inside the thankless yet essential routine of Marlins backup catcher Bryan Holaday," 10 July 2018 Basketball officials have a hard job on the best of days and, at times, a tough, thankless and abuse-laden lot. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "NCAA's lash leaves no mark on U of L's women's coach Jeff Walz," 26 May 2018 Charles Rettig, a California tax lawyer who specializes in defending wealthy clients in complex cases, is poised to get one of the most thankless jobs in government. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Senate Panel to Meet on Trump’s IRS Pick," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thankless.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thankless

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for thankless

Last Updated

29 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thankless

The first known use of thankless was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for thankless



English Language Learners Definition of thankless

: difficult and not valued by other people
: not showing or feeling thanks


thank·​less | \ ˈthaŋk-ləs How to pronounce thankless (audio) \

Kids Definition of thankless

2 : not appreciated It's a necessary but thankless job.

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More from Merriam-Webster on thankless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thankless

Spanish Central: Translation of thankless

Nglish: Translation of thankless for Spanish Speakers

Comments on thankless

What made you want to look up thankless? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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