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

Attempts to reach her lawyer were unsuccessful Thursday. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "California Woman Arrested After Allegedly Beating Man, 92, and Telling Him 'Go Back to Mexico'," 12 July 2018 According to the Huffington Post, Bush also talked about body image issues during her unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2016. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Mo. candidate hits back at 'trolls' who say her hips are too big. 'No body shaming'," 3 July 2018 Chávez did not run for re-election and instead waged an unsuccessful congressional bid. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Geographic divide makes for unique politics on San Diego-Orange County border," 20 June 2018 Morocco has made five unsuccessful bids to host the World Cup. Steven Goff, Sun-Sentinel.com, "U.S., Mexico and Canada win joint bid for 2026 World Cup; Hard Rock Stadium could be host site," 13 June 2018 The disclosure about the agent's presence led Kareem to make an unsuccessful bid for a new trial last year and raised questions about whether authorities could have done more to stop the attack. Fox News, "Arizona man convicted in 2015 Texas attack seeks new trial," 13 June 2018 Kelli Ward, who is running in Arizona's Republican Senate primary, publicly praised Paul Nehlen in 2016 and 2017, including supporting Nehlen's unsuccessful 2016 primary bid to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. Andrew Kaczynski, CNN, "GOP Senate candidate Kelli Ward disavows anti-Semite Paul Nehlen," 13 June 2018 Sacramento real estate developer Angelo Tsakopoulos in 2006 spent nearly $10 million on an outside campaign supporting former state Treasurer Phil Angelides in his unsuccessful bid for governor. Angela Hart, sacbee, "These billionaires are setting a new spending record for a California governor's race | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 Its executive chairman, Michael Rubin, is a minority owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and this year made an unsuccessful bid to buy a majority stake in the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "The NFL and Nike have signed a giant 10-year deal with online retailer Fanatics," 23 May 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

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for unsuccessful

The first known use of unsuccessful was in 1617

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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

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


playful or foolish behavior

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