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 unsuccessful (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 He was taken to the Bedford jail on suspicion of drunk driving and two attempts to get a reading on the Breathalyzer were unsuccessful. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Easter egg scam hits home after family shells out $50: Orange Police Blotter," 16 Apr. 2021 Efforts to reach Stewart by phone Thursday were unsuccessful. Wilson Wong, NBC News, "Teacher killed in 'old Western shootout' after trying to rob Mexican drug cartel, authorities say," 15 Apr. 2021 Attempts to contact the officer after that were unsuccessful, the suit alleges. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Shooting victims allege in lawsuit that Baltimore police hold their keys, cash long after needed, victimizing them twice," 14 Apr. 2021 Efforts to award sweeping reparations to former enslaved people and their descendants have largely been unsuccessful since the end of the Civil War. Los Angeles Times, "In a year of reckoning, slavery reparations bill moves forward in the House," 14 Apr. 2021 Months of effort to find a way to unlock the phone were unsuccessful. Author: Ellen Nakashima, Reed Albergotti, Anchorage Daily News, "To unlock a terrorist’s iPhone after Apple refused, the FBI turned to an obscure company in Australia," 14 Apr. 2021 Months of effort to find a way to unlock the phone were unsuccessful. Washington Post, "The FBI wanted to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. It turned to a little-known Australian firm.," 14 Apr. 2021 Past efforts to make Muni fares free for everyone have been unsuccessful without finding permanent sources of funding to sustain free services. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. supervisors want to make Muni fare-free this summer," 13 Apr. 2021 Although Buffalo is a long-standing member of the National Football League, the city has been unsuccessful in several bids for a permanent franchise, either through expansion or relocation of an existing team. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, "Barred From Canada By Pandemic, Toronto Blue Jays Start In Florida But Plan Return To Buffalo," 12 Apr. 2021

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

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unsuccessful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsuccessful. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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