un·​for·​giv·​ing | \ ˌən-fər-ˈgi-viŋ How to pronounce unforgiving (audio) \

Definition of unforgiving

1 : unwilling or unable to forgive
2 : having or making no allowance for error or weakness an unforgiving environment where false moves can prove fatal— Jaclyn Fierman

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Other Words from unforgiving

unforgivingness noun

Examples of unforgiving in a Sentence

They are unforgiving of the smallest mistake. the unforgiving world of politics

Recent Examples on the Web

The working theory was that the men, who apparently fled on an improvised raft, drowned in the bay's unforgiving waters. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Escape from Alcatraz: Letter claiming inmates survived 'inconclusive'," 25 Jan. 2018 And today’s videogame market is rather unforgiving to big, expensive properties that can’t maintain a strong continuing stream of service revenues. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Activision’s Date With Destiny," 11 Jan. 2019 The fabric is stiff, thick, and relatively unforgiving. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "The Perfect Fall Jacket is $655—so I found 11 Under $150 Instead," 26 Oct. 2018 Jewishness, for Moïse de Camondo, was a question not so much of religion as of community, a primary line of defense against an unforgiving and even hostile world. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "A Secret Paris Museum and an Aristocratic Family Decimated by the Holocaust," 9 Feb. 2017 Antarctica spans almost a thousand miles filled mostly with cold, unforgiving ice. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "One Man Successfully Crossed Antarctica Alone," 31 Dec. 2018 Yellow light cancels out unforgiving shadows, and amid the flattery there are several comfy places to sit. Carmen Rosy Hall, Vogue, "How Estelle Bailey-Babenzien Creates Calm Inside New York’s Coolest Menswear Shop," 27 Nov. 2018 Rogers actually appears to be one of the best equipped to handle the rugged, unforgiving terrain. Zoe Sayler, The Seattle Times, "Sequim man’s Pacific Northwest upbringing helps him survive on ‘Castaways’," 14 Aug. 2018 Brexit has caught her in an unforgiving political vise. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Boris Johnson Warns Against a Brexit Do-Over," 14 Feb. 2018

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

1713, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unforgiving

Last Updated

6 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for unforgiving

The first known use of unforgiving was in 1713

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More Definitions for unforgiving



English Language Learners Definition of unforgiving

: not willing to forgive other people
: very harsh or difficult : not allowing weakness, error, etc.

Comments on unforgiving

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

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