un·​de·​serv·​ing | \ ˌən-di-ˈzər-viŋ How to pronounce undeserving (audio) \

Definition of undeserving

: not deserving: such as
a : lacking merit : not worthy of praise, assistance, attention, etc. selfish, undeserving people The natural history of women's friendships is by no means a thin or undeserving subject.— Barbara Kingsolver
b : not deserving something specified … circumstances of brutal outrage, of which poor Jean was in many respects wholly undeserving.— Sir Walter Scott I do not mean to say that medicine is blameless … or undeserving of criticism.— Margaret Talbot

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Other Words from undeserving

undeservingly adverb

Examples of undeserving in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once dismissed as a crackpot belief system undeserving of serious attention, QAnon has emerged as a national security priority in the wake of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2021 The conflict is not between two visions of America but between two peoples, one deserving (in fact, America incarnate), the other undeserving (or anti-American). Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, 23 Nov. 2020 The pandemic could lead governments to prolong the life of many undeserving firms. The Economist, 26 Sep. 2020 This distinction between the protest and the encampment is really a distinction between the customer and the New Yorker, between the deserving and the undeserving—the moral and the immoral—user of public space. Apoorva Tadepalli, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2020 America has long used science and technology to categorize and differentiate people into hierarchies that, even today, determine who is able and unable, deserving and undeserving, legitimate and criminal. Malkia Devich-cyril, The Atlantic, 5 July 2020 Another subtle subtext of these proposals is that many recipients of the latest stimulus checks— up to $1,200 per adult in households earning up to $150,000 — are undeserving. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2020 Marta, arguably an undeserving winner of the 2018 Best FIFA Women’s Player award for similar reasons, scored twice in the World Cup to extend her own all-time record. SI.com, 22 Oct. 2019 Stiglitz says a few simple rules can separate the deserving from the undeserving. Peter Coy, Bloomberg.com, 28 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'undeserving.' 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 undeserving

1549, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for undeserving

Time Traveler

The first known use of undeserving was in 1549

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Cite this Entry

“Undeserving.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undeserving. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for undeserving



English Language Learners Definition of undeserving

: not having qualities that deserve praise, support, etc.
used to say that someone should not have or be given something + of

More from Merriam-Webster on undeserving

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undeserving

Nglish: Translation of undeserving for Spanish Speakers


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