un·​say ˌən-ˈsā How to pronounce unsay (audio)
 Southern also  -ˈse
unsaid ˌən-ˈsed How to pronounce unsay (audio) ; unsaying ˌən-ˈsā-iŋ How to pronounce unsay (audio)

transitive verb

: to make as if not said : recant, retract

Examples of unsay in a Sentence

the witness tried to unsay the very testimony that he had given a few days earlier
Recent Examples on the Web What’s said attains extra significance surrounded by what’s unsaid, and details accumulate like snowfall, as the critic Hilton Als wrote in The New Yorker. Darryn King, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 There’s meaning in absence, a purpose to stillness, value in what’s unseen, unsaid. Hazlitt, 2 Aug. 2023 But what often goes unsaid by Republicans is that former president Donald Trump inflamed many of those doubts with his baseless insistence that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Stephen Groves and Christina A. Cassidy, BostonGlobe.com, 10 July 2023 The syntax of Hangul leaves much unsaid: subjects are implied; pronouns are rare. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, 14 July 2023 Now, Swift’s Speak Now earns its own second run in the spotlight, revisiting the diaristic angst of her late teens — the original, Swift’s third album, was recorded between the ages of 18 and 20 — and rekindling the album’s nebulous concept, around words left unsaid, largely bound to heartache. Bobby Olivier, SPIN, 7 July 2023 As if playing parts of a well-orchestrated score, other Justices in the majority picked up on what Roberts left unsaid. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 29 June 2023 The administration released a memo ahead of Biden’s Wednesday speech that made the point that his policy ideas are broadly supported in polls, leaving unsaid that those proposals generally fare better than the president himself does. Josh Boak, Fortune, 27 June 2023 What went unsaid in the lead-up to the signing: How much Martinez’s presence might amplify Betts’ game, as well. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2023 See More

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unsay was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near unsay

Cite this Entry

“Unsay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsay. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​say ˌən-ˈsā How to pronounce unsay (audio)
unsaid -ˈsed How to pronounce unsay (audio) ; unsaying -ˈsā-iŋ How to pronounce unsay (audio)
: to take back something said : retract
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!