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

An ode and a cinematic apology to a country perennially tarnished by outsiders undeserving of its welcoming culture, here its people and geographical attributes take top billing. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Jirga’ asks if atonement for war sins is possible," 1 Aug. 2019 And obviously dwelling in that undeserving place is not beneficial for anyone. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "All About Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Breakout and Andie MacDowell’s Daughter Margaret Qualley," 30 July 2019 By the mid-’70s — just as Taylor was becoming Exhibit A of the undeserving poor — more women of color were being granted access to the assistance benefits long denied to them. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "Reagan used her, the country hated her. Decades later, the Welfare Queen of Chicago refuses to go away," 7 June 2019 But having been witness to much of the recent history of Emmy awards and nominations, the current batch, announced this week, does inspire a few observations — and not the usual ones about who got snubbed and who was undeserving. Bill Carter, CNN, "HBO is king, women rule comedy and other takeaways from this year's Emmy nominations," 19 July 2019 The pathos of lumpenproletarian misery has never gone entirely out of artistic fashion, but its status has been enhanced recently by the vogue for socialism and the ever-growing hatred for the undeserving rich. Algis Valiunas, National Review, "Nelson Algren: Chicago’s Bard of the Downtrodden," 11 July 2019 Several years back, the Hall added the contributor category, but in so doing did not include coaches — just owners (some undeserving), general managers, and plain terrific football people (like Gil Brandt, who’s to be inducted this year). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Don Coryell’s long-overdue ticket to Hall of Fame might be his — at last," 7 July 2019 Gorgeous, smart and talented Sylvie views herself as ugly, unlovable and undeserving of happiness. Carol Memmott, Washington Post, "A decade ago, her brother disappeared. In a new novel, she turns her loss into art.," 5 June 2019 Voter suppression has become not just a by-product of right-wing rule but its avowed purpose—a campaign blatantly directed at the poor and at people of color, whom the American right has always considered largely undeserving of the franchise. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "The Crisis of Our Constitution," 10 Jan. 2019

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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Last Updated

6 Aug 2019

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The first known use of undeserving was in 1549

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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

Spanish Central: Translation of undeserving

Nglish: Translation of undeserving for Spanish Speakers

Comments on undeserving

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


a period when something is suspended

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