1 of 2


un·​de·​sir·​able ˌən-di-ˈzī-rə-bəl How to pronounce undesirable (audio)
: not desirable : unwanted
undesirable side effects
undesirability noun
undesirableness noun
undesirably adverb


2 of 2


: one that is undesirable

Examples of undesirable in a Sentence

Adjective The drug has some undesirable side effects. This may have undesirable consequences. Frankly, it's an undesirable and unpleasant job.
Recent Examples on the Web
Making your home an undesirable hibernation spot for Harmonia axyridis could mean fewer survive the winter, and controlling their population is one important way to support natives. Kate Morgan, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Throughout the pandemic, survey after survey showed what some workers of color have known for years: Workplace politics and discrimination can make the office an undesirable place to be. Samantha Masunaga, Chicago Tribune, 10 Aug. 2023 Not just having to match tools with certain formulas, using the wrong tool may result in an undesirable finish– like splotches, caking, and creasing. India Espy-Jones, Essence, 10 Nov. 2023 From issues with circadian rhythm to more serious mental health issues such as seasonal affective disorder, early sunsets are often associated with undesirable health consequences. Julia Landwehr, Health, 9 Nov. 2023 South Koreans have condemned the plan, and Japanese fishermen worry that the discharge will make their products undesirable for decades, severely impacting business. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 2 Sep. 2023 These undesirable results occur when coconut oil is unable to penetrate the hair, whether due to natural texture or too much of a good thing. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 29 Oct. 2023 This is a real case of academic freedom because Angela Davis is an undesirable character to much of the public.... Stuart Silverstein, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2023 Sometimes inhabiting a character helps me to feel the shamelessness necessary to pull off undesirable tasks. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, 16 Oct. 2023
Syria’s security services have not been waiting for external validation to target dissidents and perceived undesirables. Sam Heller, Foreign Affairs, 14 Aug. 2023 Mbappe had been training with PSG's 'undesirables' and watched Saturday's Ligue 1 season opener - a 0-0 draw with Lorient - from the stands with Dembele. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2023 Similarly, disturbing large sections of soil while dispatching undesirables can expose seeds of other foes, so replant immediately with good guys that have a broad footprint to fill the space. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 9 Aug. 2023 And ultimately, cities walled themselves off, consigning criminals, the poor, and other undesirables to roam a dangerous rural wasteland. Time, 27 July 2023 The term was coined for land next to the road where nothing will grow, except perhaps undesirables such as crabgrass and poison ivy. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 12 July 2023 Norway constructs a wall to keep out undesirables. John Hopewell, Variety, 17 Mar. 2023 The attention of his fear was undesirables, including Jews. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2020 This amazing little machine fights pollutants, mold, dander, and other airborne undesirables with technology that works at the molecular level. Tony Vaz, Popular Science, 9 Mar. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'undesirable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1667, in the meaning defined above


1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of undesirable was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near undesirable

Cite this Entry

“Undesirable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undesirable. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: not desirable : unwanted
undesirable noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!