un·​suc·​cess·​ful | \ ˌən-sək-ˈses-fəl \

Definition of unsuccessful

: not successful : not meeting with or producing success

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Other Words from unsuccessful

unsuccessfully \ ˌən-​sək-​ˈses-​fə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of unsuccessful in a Sentence

His last novel was unsuccessful. an unsuccessful attempt to fix the faucet ourselves

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2010, Topeka, Kansas, temporarily changed its name to Google, Kansas, in an unsuccessful effort to get the company to install a super-fast broadband network. Fox News, "Florida town of Mayo changes name to 'Miracle Whip'," 28 Aug. 2018 Wyman said that Washington had seen unsuccessful efforts to gain access to electoral systems in 2016 from Russia and was expecting more to come. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Microsoft exec: We stopped Russia from hacking 3 congressional campaigns," 20 July 2018 After an unsuccessful run for a Senate seat, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966 and served two terms. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "George H.W. Bush, America’s 41st President and Father of 43rd, Dies," 1 Dec. 2018 In each of his three previous unsuccessful statewide runs for governor and Senate, opponents have found grist for attacks in his business dealings. Jim Brunner, The Seattle Times, "Dino Rossi has done well in real estate, but his work is also fodder for campaign opponents," 16 Oct. 2018 Through the years, several attempts to identify the bone proved unsuccessful until recent improvements allowed Desire’s team to gain sufficient DNA evidence to make a match, The Times reported. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "9/11 victim reportedly ID'ed 17 years later due to DNA testing," 11 Sep. 2018 Stahr said the city has placed liens on properties within the last year when all other collection methods proved unsuccessful. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Owe a parking ticket or municipal utility bill in Geneva? You may get a break under a new amnesty program.," 13 June 2018 Early rescue efforts by the St. Paul Fire Department and building workers, who fashioned a makeshift ladder, proved unsuccessful. Eli Meixler, Time, "Free Climbing Raccoon Captures Hearts and Minds Scaling Minnesota Skyscraper," 13 June 2018 Two surgeries proved unsuccessful in easing her pain, and after breaking into the top 150, she was again forced out of the sport. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "Mihaela Buzarnescu, Ph.D., Claims Biggest Upset of the French Open," 1 June 2018

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

1617, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for unsuccessful

The first known use of unsuccessful was in 1617

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More Definitions for unsuccessful



English Language Learners Definition of unsuccessful

: not having or producing success : not successful


un·​suc·​cess·​ful | \ ˌən-sək-ˈses-fəl \

Kids Definition of unsuccessful

: not ending in or having gained success an unsuccessful attempt

Other Words from unsuccessful

unsuccessfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on unsuccessful

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