un·​suc·​cess·​ful | \ ˌən-sək-ˈses-fəl How to pronounce unsuccessful (audio) \

Definition of unsuccessful

: not successful : not meeting with or producing success

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unsuccessful

unsuccessfully \ ˌən-​sək-​ˈses-​fə-​lē How to pronounce unsuccessfully (audio) \ 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

Those efforts have largely been unsuccessful so far, and Polster ruled this week that the plaintiffs can put their claims in front of a jury next month. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Generic opioid maker Mallinckrodt agrees to $30 million settlement with Cuyahoga, Summit counties," 6 Sep. 2019 Attempts to reach athletic department officials were also unsuccessful. Cynthia Fernandez, BostonGlobe.com, "Merrimack College student arrested for assaulting female in dorm room," 5 Sep. 2019 Attempts to contact the Nogueira family were unsuccessful. James Queally, Glendale News-Press, "Two men accused of setting blaze at Eagle Rock homeless encampment that grew into brush fire," 4 Sep. 2019 Attempts to contact the Nogueira family were unsuccessful on Wednesday. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "How did another attack on the homeless in L.A. lead to a dangerous brush fire?," 4 Sep. 2019 Life-saving measures at the scene were unsuccessful, West Point said. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "20-Year-Old Aspiring West Point Cadet Falls to His Death from Rocky Cliff at Popular Diving Site," 3 Sep. 2019 Lifesaving measures at the scene were unsuccessful, police said. Evan Simko-bednarski, CNN, "West Point cadet candidate falls to his death at cliff-diving spot," 2 Sep. 2019 Life saving measures were attempted at the scene, but were unsuccessful. Fox News, "West Point cadet falls to death at popular cliff-diving location," 2 Sep. 2019 The Vikings tried to trade Treadwell and Sloter but were unsuccessful. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings cut Kyle Sloter, Laquon Treadwell, keep just two QBs, four WRs," 31 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of unsuccessful

1617, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unsuccessful

Statistics for unsuccessful

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsuccessful

The first known use of unsuccessful was in 1617

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce unsuccessful (audio) \

Kids Definition of unsuccessful

: not ending in or having gained success an unsuccessful attempt

Other Words from unsuccessful

unsuccessfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on unsuccessful

What made you want to look up unsuccessful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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