un·​re·​li·​able | \ ˌən-ri-ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce unreliable (audio) \

Definition of unreliable

: not reliable : undependable, untrustworthy an unreliable friend an unreliable source of funding an unreliable car

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Other Words from unreliable

unreliability \ ˌən-​ri-​ˌlī-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce unreliability (audio) \ noun
the unreliability of the data a person with a reputation for unreliability
unreliably \ ˌən-​ri-​ˈlī-​ə-​blē How to pronounce unreliably (audio) \ adverb
a method that works unreliably

Examples of unreliable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This has raised concerns because the tests have proven unreliable elsewhere, and some people may get deliberately ill in order to obtain the card. Patrick Henry / Bloomberg, Time, "WHO: 'No Evidence' That COVID-19 Antibodies Protect From Potential Re-infection," 25 Apr. 2020 But inconsistent testing and backlogs at laboratories often make those numbers unreliable. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus worsens in Los Angeles County as hopes of an early reopening fade," 28 Apr. 2020 China issued that allegation one day after the Indian Council of Medical Research advised local officials to return the antibody test kits purchased from two Chinese companies on the grounds that the tests are unreliable. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "‘Habitual liar’ with 'no credibility': China attacks top Trump aide Navarro by name," 28 Apr. 2020 But the lack of testing capacity, delays in test results and other factors make that data by itself unreliable. NBC News, "Instagram's cofounders left Facebook. Now, they're working on a coronavirus website.," 27 Apr. 2020 The water system was unreliable, the roads were undriveable and the sewage situation was unbearable. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Before he was Joe Exotic, ‘Tiger King’ star owned Arlington pet store," 2 Apr. 2020 And these ties—the way everything and everyone is fundamentally related—are also what make predictions so unreliable right now. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The lessons of cherry blossoms are most relevant during the coronavirus pandemic," 19 Mar. 2020 Testing problems mean that the case counts that public health officials use to determine when the outbreak is starting to subside are unreliable. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: March 28-29," 24 Apr. 2020 For now, the pandemic appears likely to widen the U.S.-China divide while convincing other Asian countries that both powers are unreliable. Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times, "What the coronavirus hasn’t stopped: Beijing’s buildup in the South China Sea," 10 Apr. 2020

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

1810, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unreliable

Time Traveler

The first known use of unreliable was in 1810

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unreliable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unreliable. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for unreliable


How to pronounce unreliable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unreliable

: not able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed or promised
: not believable or trustworthy


un·​re·​li·​able | \ ˌən-ri-ˈlī-ə-bəl \

Kids Definition of unreliable

: not worthy of trust He got rid of his unreliable car.

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