un·​de·​sir·​able | \ ˌən-di-ˈzī-rə-bəl How to pronounce undesirable (audio) \

Definition of undesirable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not desirable : unwanted undesirable side effects



Definition of undesirable (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is undesirable

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Other Words from undesirable


undesirability \ ˌən-​di-​ˌzī-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce undesirable (audio) \ noun
undesirableness \ ˌən-​di-​ˈzī-​rə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce undesirable (audio) \ noun
undesirably \ ˌən-​di-​ˈzī-​rə-​blē How to pronounce undesirable (audio) \ adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That undesirable scenario is a cause for much hand-wringing. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Bitcoin’s time to shine is fast approaching," 29 Apr. 2021 For lasting change, experts told NBC News, research supports developing positive behaviors through teaching and rewarding the alternative, less-harmful behaviors, rather than just de-incentivizing undesirable ones. NBC News, "A decades-long fight over an electric shock treatment led to an FDA ban. But the fight is far from over.," 28 Apr. 2021 In investing, this greedy mentality too often results in strike three and undesirable results. Nick Harris, Forbes, "Don’t Strike Out With Your Investments: Remain Calm & Disciplined," 26 Apr. 2021 For a non-chemical (and safer) alternative, go with the Grebstk Crack Weeder that has an L-shape blade designed specifically to clean out undesirable plants and grass growing in narrow spaces. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, "The 8 Best Weeding Tools on Amazon for a Flourishing Garden—Starting at $13," 15 Apr. 2021 Second, the focus on diversity as the sole measure of progress creates a number of undesirable side effects. Paolo Gaudiano, Forbes, "Why Diversity Data Alone Can’t Measure Commitment To Diversity, Equity And Inclusion," 19 Mar. 2021 But with billions of dollars at stake, that was an undesirable option for professional sports leagues. oregonlive, "A year after coronavirus shut down sports, a look at lost dreams, a new normal, and hope amid uncertainty," 11 Mar. 2021 However, the word can be seen to have negative connotations, suggesting that skin and hair types outside of the description are abnormal and therefore inherently undesirable. Jacqueline Kilikita, refinery29.com, "Unilever Is Banning The Word “Normal” From Beauty Products," 9 Mar. 2021 Rather than standing aside from history, Lee’s critics argued, the San had been manhandled by it, forced onto undesirable lands as an underclass. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Republic, "Paleo Con," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The attention of his fear was undesirables, including Jews. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska legislator compares pandemic safety measures at Capitol to Nazi treatment of Jews," 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, "Small but powerful air purifiers," 9 Mar. 2020 The Constitution protects desirables and undesirables alike. Phil Gramm And Michael Solon, WSJ, "The Plot to Politicize Banking," 14 Jan. 2020 Gaiters have been around for centuries, helping people from Anglican deacons to range-riding cowboys prevent dirt, dust, pebbles, twigs bugs, snow, and other undesirables from entering shoes and boots or traveling up pants legs. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things to Know Before You Buy Gaiters," 8 Jan. 2020 Limited national resources are to be reserved for the French and the French only, as a witch-hunt against refugees, Jews, and other undesirables consumes the country. Harrison Stetler, The New York Review of Books, "‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart," 21 Jan. 2020 Moreover, the practice of creating lists of political undesirables could be adopted on both sides of the aisle. Phil Gramm And Michael Solon, WSJ, "The Plot to Politicize Banking," 14 Jan. 2020 Even a requirement, to be introduced in 2021, for visa-free entrants to the EU to pre-register online (to weed out undesirables) is a deterrent for some would-be purchasers. The Economist, "Testing times ahead for the booming passports trade," 31 Dec. 2019 For Lodge and others anxious to restrict immigration, Eastern European Jews were definitely among the undesirables. Adam Hochschild, The New Yorker, "When America Tried to Deport Its Radicals," 4 Nov. 2019

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


1667, in the meaning defined above


1883, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for undesirable

Time Traveler

The first known use of undesirable was in 1667

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Statistics for undesirable

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Undesirable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undesirable. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for undesirable



English Language Learners Definition of undesirable

: bad, harmful, or unpleasant : not worth having or getting : not desirable


un·​de·​sir·​able | \ ˌən-di-ˈzī-rə-bəl How to pronounce undesirable (audio) \

Kids Definition of undesirable

: having qualities that are not pleasing or wanted an undesirable effect

Comments on undesirable

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