un·​sat·​is·​fac·​to·​ry | \ˌən-ˌsa-təs-ˈfak-t(ə-)rē \

Definition of unsatisfactory 

: not satisfactory

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Other Words from unsatisfactory

unsatisfactorily \ˌən-​ˌsa-​təs-​ˈfak-​t(ə-​)rə-​lē \ adverb
unsatisfactoriness \ˌən-​ˌsa-​təs-​ˈfak-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs \ noun

Examples of unsatisfactory in a Sentence

He was fired for unsatisfactory performance. an unsatisfactory first attempt at building a birdhouse

Recent Examples on the Web

The guidance for this patch is different—and rather unsatisfactory. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Now it’s Office’s turn to have a load of patches pulled," 20 Nov. 2018 Thousands have walked from unsatisfactory working conditions and compensation. WSJ, "Proposal for Longer, Double-Trailer Trucks Is a Dangerous Idea," 22 Aug. 2018 Nearly 30 percent of the school buildings are in unsatisfactory condition. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "Cost to fix Detroit school buildings: $500 million," 22 June 2018 In 2001, an eBay user might have given an eBay seller a low rating for an unsatisfactory packaging job; in 2018, an Uber driver might be dinged if a rider doesn’t like his personality or choice of music. John Herrman, New York Times, "Want to Understand What Ails the Modern Internet? Look at eBay," 20 June 2018 This unsatisfactory state of affairs lasted until 1857 when the Matrimonial Causes (Divorce) Act started to make the granting of a divorce a civil and not a religious matter. Diane Atkinson, Time, "Meghan Markle Should Walk Down the Aisle Alone and Not Pass From One 'Owner' to Another," 18 May 2018 Haspel has come under fire for her role in the program and what some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, have viewed as an unsatisfactory denunciation of the use of torture. CNN, "Read the letter Gina Haspel sent to the Senate intel committee's top Democrat," 15 May 2018 The parents of both young women judged a train conductor’s son of unsatisfactory social standing for their daughters. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, "The partisan world of Pablo Neruda," 2 July 2018 The department also sustained complaints of misconduct and unsatisfactory performance against Benevento for failing to broadcast or log the 911 call about DeWolfe’s alleged erratic driving. Shelley Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "‘The fact that she could have been stopped that morning is heartbreaking’," 29 Apr. 2018

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

circa 1650, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for unsatisfactory

The first known use of unsatisfactory was circa 1650

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English Language Learners Definition of unsatisfactory

: not good enough : not satisfactory


un·​sat·​is·​fac·​to·​ry | \ˈən-ˌsa-təs-ˈfak-tə-rē \

Kids Definition of unsatisfactory

: not what is needed or expected His behavior in class has been unsatisfactory.

Other Words from unsatisfactory

unsatisfactorily \-​rə-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on unsatisfactory

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


living or existing for a long time

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