un·​sus·​tain·​able ˌən-sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl How to pronounce unsustainable (audio)
: not capable of being prolonged or continued : not sustainable
unsustainable agricultural practices
unsustainable growth
unsustainability noun
unsustainably adverb
an unsustainably high rate of growth

Examples of unsustainable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The downsides to high military spending include concerns that such spending is economically unsustainable, is wasteful, and wreaks environmental havoc—militaries are responsible for about 5.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Conflict and Environment Observatory report. Sunny Nagpaul, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2024 Sending those teams across the country for conference play is inane and unsustainable. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 Early childhood educators’ pay went from unsustainable and shameful ($48,000 annually for a lead teacher in the bumblebee room at Hill Preschool) to livable and respectful (up to $75,000 annually for those with degrees). Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 Sceptical economists like Diego Giacomini suggest this budget surplus is absolutely unsustainable without underlying reforms which have been ruled out by the level of bellicosity between the Executive, the legislative branch and the provincial governments. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 That cost is increasingly unsustainable for payers in the U.S., and prohibitive for people whose insurance doesn’t cover the drug. Lisa Shah, STAT, 28 Mar. 2024 The cost of renting individual rooms night by night, projected to be $110 million this fiscal year, is likely unsustainable, especially now that the city needs to cut spending. Jill Cowan, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2024 An indefinite Israeli military occupation of Gaza would generate an insurgency, bleed Israel of money and personnel and eventually prove politically and diplomatically unsustainable. Bret Stephens, The Mercury News, 23 Mar. 2024 Despite its success, Jørgensen believes current stress levels at the company are unsustainable. Bruce Gil, Quartz, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unsustainable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1677, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unsustainable was circa 1677

Dictionary Entries Near unsustainable

Cite this Entry

“Unsustainable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsustainable. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on unsustainable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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