un·​manned ˌən-ˈmand How to pronounce unmanned (audio)
see usage paragraph below : not carrying, staffed, or performed by people : not manned
an unmanned railroad crossing
unmanned spaceflight
of a hawk : not trained
Usage of Manned and Unmanned

While manned and unmanned are still commonly used in news sources to describe spaceflights, NASA has since the early 21st century used and prescribed non-gender-specific terms, preferring such descriptors as human, piloted, and crewed for the former, and unpiloted and uncrewed for the latter.

Examples of unmanned in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Since 2020, SpaceX completed its crewed test flight and has ferried eight operations crews to the base — while Boeing has managed only two unmanned flights, including one that docked remotely in May of last year. Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2024 An unmanned drum kit and vacant piano sat in the back. Julia Coin, Charlotte Observer, 3 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for unmanned 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unmanned.' 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

1544, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unmanned was in 1544

Dictionary Entries Near unmanned

Cite this Entry

“Unmanned.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unmanned. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​manned ˌən-ˈmand How to pronounce unmanned (audio)
: having no crew aboard
an unmanned spacecraft

More from Merriam-Webster on unmanned

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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