un·​se·​cured | \ˌən-si-ˈkyu̇rd, -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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Synonyms & Antonyms for unsecured


insecure, lax, loose, loosened, relaxed, slack, slackened


taut, tense, tight

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Examples of unsecured in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Inspectors with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections had cited the property for violations, including unsecured windows and exterior graffiti. Wendy Ruderman, Philly.com, "Cause of five-alarm fire in North Philadelphia still not known," 19 May 2018 That subsidiary then issued secured bonds maturing in 2021, swapping them for outstanding unsecured bonds due two years earlier. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "The Case of the Disappearing Collateral," 15 Nov. 2018 Palin appeared in court Saturday, where a judge set a $500 unsecured bond with the condition of wearing a monitoring device if released. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Sarah Palin’s son, Track, accused of hitting woman in head," 1 Oct. 2018 That means that if there is money in the estate to pay unsecured claims - debts that are not assured payment - at the end of the bankruptcy, students would receive a share. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, chicagotribune.com, "ITT's top executives settle fraud charges with SEC," 9 July 2018 Doors to the building were often left open or without alarms, allowing unsecured access to an operation that counts nearly $200 million in cash a year, the audit found. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Theft scandals have hit MBTA in the past," 20 June 2018 In one, the man got through a residence through an unsecured window. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Police seek man linked to 5 Clayton County rapes," 15 June 2018 He was released from custody after posting unsecured bond, according to WPXI. Paula Rogo, Essence.com, "Police Officer That Fatally Shot Antwon Rose Charged with Homicide," 27 June 2018 The deal cleared a final hurdle late last week after TWC reached an agreement with unsecured creditors, as well as reducing the sale price from the original $310 million that Lantern agreed to pay. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Weinstein Co. Lays Off 20-Plus Employees," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for unsecured

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsecured

The first known use of unsecured was in 1780

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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


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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