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 Interview requests with the Department of Health Services or the Department of Administration were unsuccessful. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Field hospital in West Allis, costing more than $15 million, unneeded so far but still seen as a wise precaution," 8 July 2020 The Chronicle was unsuccessful Tuesday in reaching the woman who posted the video. Alejandro Serrano, SFChronicle.com, "Racist, anti-Asian rant at Carmel Valley restaurant inspires praise for server who came to the rescue," 7 July 2020 Attempts to reach his attorney, Lee Stein, were unsuccessful. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Former Indian Trevor Crowe charged with lying on his taxes involving gambling business," 2 July 2020 Attempts to reach a representative of the company were unsuccessful. ProPublica, "She Needed Lifesaving Medication, but the Only Hospital in Town Did Not Have It," 2 July 2020 Ultimately, proponents of two license plates were unsuccessful. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "Starting Wednesday, Ohio drivers will need only one license plate," 30 June 2020 Efforts to reach sheriff’s officials for additional details were unsuccessful. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "7 shot at party in west Alabama field," 28 June 2020 Ortega resigned from the police department during the investigation, and attempts to reach him on Thursday were unsuccessful. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "After Police Oversight Board investigation stalls, family of Diamond Ross, who died in DPD custody, sues the city," 26 June 2020 Both posts cited misconduct allegations against Izzi that were shared on social media along with allegations against Barnum. Attempts to reach Barnum and Izzi were unsuccessful. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Ashtabula band Homewrecker dropped from label following sexual misconduct allegations," 25 June 2020

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

Time Traveler for unsuccessful

Time Traveler

The first known use of unsuccessful was in 1617

See more words from the same year

Statistics for unsuccessful

Last Updated

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsuccessful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsuccessful. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unsuccessful


How to pronounce unsuccessful (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!