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 Multiple attempts made this week by IndyStar to contact Frey — who used his Google email address to set up the account and shared a phone number on the forum — were unsuccessful. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Marion County Jail II officer suspended from Nevada facility after neo-Nazi posts found," 10 Jan. 2020 Attempts to package them with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—aka Prince William and Kate Middleton—in a charitable foundation were unsuccessful. The Economist, "Harry and Meghan go private," 9 Jan. 2020 The last time Ottawa County voted against the winner of the national presidential race was in 1944, when Thomas Dewey carried the county in his unsuccessful bid to prevent Franklin Roosevelt’s election to a fourth term. Rich Exner, cleveland, "10 takeaways about presidential election votes in Ohio: Capitol Letter," 25 Dec. 2019 Attempts to reach the person behind the account by telephone on Saturday were unsuccessful. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump retweets post naming alleged whistle-blower - The Boston Globe," 31 Dec. 2019 Upon arrival, Officer Norman met with the victim who advised unknown person(s) were using his identifying information to open various credit card accounts but were unsuccessful. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 30 Dec. 2019 Attempts to reach the person behind the account by telephone on Saturday were unsuccessful. David Klepper, The Denver Post, "Trump retweets, deletes, post naming alleged whistleblower," 28 Dec. 2019 The suits have been unsuccessful in lower federal courts so far, and on Thursday the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco became the second appellate circuit to reject the non-members’ claims. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Public employees not entitled to union-dues refunds, court says," 26 Dec. 2019 In several recent court cases, defendants have challenged the law enforcement's warrantless use of geofence technology, though many have been unsuccessful. NBC News, "UNC campus police used geofencing tech to monitor antiracism protestors," 21 Dec. 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.

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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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsuccessful.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsuccessfully. Accessed 23 January 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

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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