un·for·giv·ing | \ ˌən-fər-ˈgi-viŋ \

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

Before the report on June 26, the North African nation was expelling migrants by the hundreds almost every week into the unforgiving desert, sometimes to their deaths. NBC News, "Algeria stops forcing migrants into Sahara after widespread outrage," 13 July 2018 The clear spring-fed tributary of the Rio Grande in southwestern Texas cuts through unforgiving desert, scenic canyons and wondrous Dolan Falls. Jody Schmal And Mizanur Rahman, Houston Chronicle, "10 awe-inspiring Texas sites to help beat the dog days of summer," 29 June 2018 This has been an unforgiving series throughout, with both teams’ offenses mercilessly hunting weak links. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Rockets’ Upset Hopes Hang on Chris Paul’s Hamstring," 25 May 2018 Left for dead and vastly underestimated by a trio of male attackers, a young woman stands tall against the expanse of an unforgiving desert, spattered in blood. Jen Yamato, latimes.com, "Pushed to her limits, the first horror heroine of the Time’s Up era is born in the gutsy ‘Revenge’," 3 May 2018 On a lively and not-at-all precious tour, a docent explained how Melville struggled to write and how his wife Elizabeth, often described in biographies (mostly by men) as cold and unforgiving, was an important defender of his work. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New England museums to visit this summer and fall," 4 July 2018 But for all the speeches and the passion of the people gathered, I am distracted by the harsh and unforgiving landscape that stretches in every direction around us. refinery29.com, "Planned Parenthood Leader Recounts "Cruelty & Hatred" At The Border," 27 June 2018 The weather was cold and unforgiving my first day on the Kenai River flats. Author: Christine Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "How the Cow Face Pose can make you a better duck hunter," 19 June 2018 The Republic of Gilead, the fictional totalitarian state depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale, is a harsh and unforgiving place. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "I’ve Discovered a New Horrifying Thing About The Handmaid’s Tale," 24 May 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

4 Sep 2018

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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

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the setting in which something occurs

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