un·​se·​cured | \ ˌən-si-ˈkyu̇rd How to pronounce unsecured (audio) , -ˈkyərd \

Definition of unsecured

: not protected or free from danger or risk of loss : not secured unsecured cargo unsecured funds an unsecured loan

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Examples of unsecured in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the last moment, the bankruptcy tribunal’s appellate authority had inexplicably jumped into the fray and ordered that more of ArcelorMittal’s money be given out to unsecured operational creditors and less to secured financial lenders. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Common Sense Wins in India Bankruptcy Case," 18 Nov. 2019 Via, citing a gross income for fiscal year 2018 of $15.22 million, owes unsecured creditors more than $6 million, along with two property liens of approximately $115,000 and $3.5 million. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Via Airlines filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy," 16 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile the government, the board, and a committee of unsecured creditors challenged the finding that board members’ appointment process was constitutionally flawed and also appealed. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Puerto Rico’s future is now in the hands of the US Supreme Court," 15 Oct. 2019 Their campaign to end PG&E’s exclusive control was supported by the official committee of unsecured creditors, labor unions and fire victims. Los Angeles Times, "PG&E loses exclusive control of its bankruptcy recovery plan," 9 Oct. 2019 But the safety advocates stress that there are likely millions of unstable, unsecured Ikea dressers remaining in American bedrooms today. Tricia L. Nadolny, USA TODAY, "Ikea US president backpedals on meeting parents of children killed by recalled dressers," 6 Nov. 2019 While laws can vary by state, Americans living overseas typically cast their votes through paper mail, fax or in many cases unsecured email. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Smartphone Voting Could Expand Accessibility, But Election Experts Raise Security Concerns," 4 Nov. 2019 In September of that same year, a Denver woman sued Starbucks, claiming the scalding hot tea she was served spilled through an unsecured lid and left her with burns, and killed her dog. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Oregon Starbucks customer suing coffee chain claims she was burned by 'far too hot' water," 2 Nov. 2019 The lights inside are kept low, there are no windows, and cell phones and other unsecured electronic devices are forbidden. Robert P. Baird, The New Yorker, "The Circus Comes to the House Impeachment Inquiry," 29 Oct. 2019

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

1780, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unsecured

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The first known use of unsecured was in 1780

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Unsecured.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsecured. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for unsecured



Financial Definition of unsecured

What It Is

In the finance world, a lender or piece of debt is unsecured if it does not have collateral.

How It Works

Let's assume you would like to borrow $100,000 to start a business. Even if you have an excellent credit rating, a bank may be reluctant to lend you the money because it may be left with nothing if you default on the loan. Thus, although banks may attempt the lengthy and expensive process of suing you in that circumstance, the bank may require $100,000 of collateral -- security -- in order to lend you the money. This collateral might consist of financial instruments, houses, cash, or even objects such as art, jewelry or other items. You might pledge your business receivables as well. When you pledge these assets, you are collateralizing the loan.

If you do default on the loan, the loan agreement gives the lender the right to seize then sell the collateral in order to recover any outstanding balance.

For individuals, credit cards are the most common example of unsecured debt. There is no collateral backing  your Visa bill that Visa can seize if you don't pay your bill.

Why It Matters

If the creditor has claim to some of your assets -- say, a deposit you made, a lien on your house, the title to your car -- that creditor is a secured creditor. If the creditor has no ability to claim some of your assets when you don't pay (this is often the case with credit cards), the creditor is unsecured. If you have borrowed money from a bank, the bank may ask you for collateral as a way of securing the loan.

An unsecured creditor takes on more risk than a secured creditor because it does not have the ability to seize an asset right away if a borrower fails to repay the debt. Creditors may of course sue to obtain access to accounts or other assets if the borrower has not paid, but that is more expensive than requiring collateral up front. Regardless, this lack of security increases the creditor’s risk, which in turn increases the interest rates on unsecured loans.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce unsecured (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unsecured

: not protected against risk or loss : not secure


un·​se·​cured | \ ˌən-si-ˈkyu̇rd \

Legal Definition of unsecured

: not secured: as
a : not guaranteed or protected as to payment, performance, or satisfaction by a security interest or by property given or pledged as security unsecured debt an unsecured claim
b : characterized by a lack of security or of a security interest unsecured status

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