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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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

That one company or another has harvested your data or left it unsecured because that company is specifically and particularly greedy, incompetent, or careless. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Tech Companies Shouldn't Make Us Trust Them, At All," 11 Jan. 2019 The company listed four banks— JPMorgan Chase & Co., TD Bank, East West Bank and Santander Bank —as its four largest unsecured creditors. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trucker New England Motor Freight Files for Bankruptcy, Plans to Shut Down," 11 Feb. 2019 Most notably, the loan is unsecured, meaning the lender didn’t require collateral. Hannah Levitt, latimes.com, "Personal loans surge to a record high," 3 July 2018 Less than one-tenth of Lampert's remaining Sears debt is unsecured, according to Debtwire. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Sears, Kmart stores ailing as CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund gets hundreds of millions," 18 June 2018 In a filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y., lawyers for the committee representing Sears’s unsecured creditors asked Judge Robert Drain for permission to sue Mr. Lampert, his hedge fund ESL Investments and its... Soma Biswas, WSJ, "Sears Creditors Oppose Sale to Edward Lampert," 17 Jan. 2019 Several big name suppliers, including Frigidaire, Samsung and Whirlpool, were among the top 20 unsecured creditors and were owed between $23 million and $5 million, according to court documents. Anne D'innocenzio, The Seattle Times, "Sears’ bankruptcy will have ripple effect, not all of it bad," 16 Oct. 2018 Massachusetts police say a driver was cited for an unsecured load on Monday — just five days after being stopped for the same offense. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "Massachusetts police cite driver twice in 5 days for unsecured load," 27 June 2018 Chicopee officers cited the driver again, this time for having an unsecured load, and obstructed plate and obstructed tail lights, police said. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Teetering chairs got driver pulled over. His next load really went out on a limb, Mass. cops say," 25 June 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

26 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsecured

The first known use of unsecured was in 1780

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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



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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