un·​will·​ing ˌən-ˈwi-liŋ How to pronounce unwilling (audio)
: not willing:
: loath, reluctant
was unwilling to learn
: done or given reluctantly
unwilling approval
: offering opposition : obstinate
an unwilling student
unwillingly adverb
unwillingness noun

Examples of unwilling in a Sentence

He was an unwilling participant in the demonstration. unwilling contributions from city employees who felt pressured to do so
Recent Examples on the Web Rather, in Gaza, Israel has shown itself willing to cause heavy civilian casualties and unwilling to care for a population left without basic necessities for survival. Phil Klay, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2024 The worst thing to do is become obsolete by remaining stagnant and unwilling to learn new tricks. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Among the 15 people who work at Duffy’s is Russell’s long-time business partner Jim Fab, who still toils in the kitchen making soups and sauces and whatever else needs done, long past retirement age but unwilling to stop working. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 27 Mar. 2024 Construction has yet to begin on the execution chamber overhaul, in part because contractors were unwilling to perform work on a project related to executions, Tewalt wrote staff in an email Wednesday afternoon. Kevin Fixler, Idaho Statesman, 26 Mar. 2024 The Dodgers clubhouse was thinly populated during the brief window of media access before the game, with players unwilling to discuss the matter. Bill Plunkett, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2024 Of those that do, the vast majority are unwilling to accept the risk associated with such a large bond. Graham Kates, CBS News, 18 Mar. 2024 However, many first-time buyers, already shelling out their savings for what is often the largest purchase of their lives, may be unwilling or unable to pay thousands of dollars more for their Realtor. Samantha Delouya, CNN, 21 Mar. 2024 Some of the gap results from parents unable or unwilling to share records with the schools, and not because their children are not immunized, Dr. Hahn said. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unwilling.' 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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unwilling was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near unwilling

Cite this Entry

“Unwilling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwilling. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​will·​ing ˌən-ˈwil-iŋ How to pronounce unwilling (audio)
: not willing
unwillingly adverb
unwillingness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unwilling

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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