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

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 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 Some local governments, including the Orange County and San Diego County boards of supervisors, supported the Trump administration's unsuccessful suit in 2018 that claimed the state law conflicted with federal law. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "California’s top court: All cities have to follow state’s sanctuary law," 2 Apr. 2020 The work needs sunlight to be properly viewed, so another try in the evening was also mostly unsuccessful. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "Dallas monument to Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan is ready, but pandemic puts a damper on unveiling," 31 Mar. 2020 Reuters reported that the cities of Riyadh and Jazan were the locations of the unsuccessful attacks. NBC News, "Projectiles intercepted over Saudi Arabia cities of Riyadh, Jazan," 28 Mar. 2020 Eighteen years ago, Republicans won seats in Congress after Democrats waged an unpopular and unsuccessful battle to force President George W. Bush to allow new homeland security personnel to unionize. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "'Losing the optics': Democrats risk voter backlash with holdup of coronavirus aid package," 24 Mar. 2020 Instead, the Treasury Departments of both Bush and Obama spun out an array of programs, successfully bailing out AIG, large banks and the auto industry — and only later launched a notably unsuccessful program for homeowners. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, "We Tracked the Last Time the Government Bailed Out the Economy. Here’s What to Know About the $1 Trillion Coronavirus Plan.," 20 Mar. 2020 As if to try to counterbalance accusations of bias, there’s also a bit on a liberal man who used social media to go after Alabama Republican Roy Moore in his unsuccessful U.S. Senate race against Democrat Doug Jones in 2018. Arizona Republic, "HBO's 'After Truth' takes on fake news, and mostly wins. Here's why that may not be enough," 19 Mar. 2020 The unsuccessful suit and failed appeals dragged on for years. cincinnati.com, "Death, lies and uranium: How an Ohio man’s mysterious disappearance in 1984 still haunts family, friends," 17 Mar. 2020 Efforts at quarantine proved unsuccessful in stopping the outbreak. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "What a WoW virtual outbreak taught us about how humans behave in epidemics," 16 Mar. 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.

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First Known Use of unsuccessful

1617, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unsuccessful

Time Traveler

The first known use of unsuccessful was in 1617

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Statistics for unsuccessful

Last Updated

9 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsuccessful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsuccessful. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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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

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Comments on unsuccessful

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