un·​will·​ing | \ˌən-ˈwi-liŋ \

Definition of unwilling 

: not willing:

a : loath, reluctant was unwilling to learn

b : done or given reluctantly unwilling approval

c : offering opposition : obstinate an unwilling student

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly \ ˌən-​ˈwi-​liŋ-​lē \ 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

Business men sweat profusely through their suits, unwilling participants in the world’s unsexiest wet t-shirt contest. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Can Anything Stop Pumpkin Spice?," 31 Aug. 2018 Chelsea may be unwilling to do business with United again after losing Nemanja Matic to them last summer in what many people have called one of the signings of the season, and a big reason for Chelsea's poor title defence. SI.com, "Man Utd Reportedly Planing to Offer Out-of-Favour Anthony Martial in Exchange for Chelsea Superstar," 6 May 2018 But credibility also means keeping your promises, especially to friends and partners, which the Trump administration appears unwilling or unable to do. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Credibility Problem Is Now America’s," 26 May 2018 Still others jumped back in, unwilling to let the river win - at least not this year. Annie Gentile, Courant Community, "Scantic Spring Splash Fuels Excitement," 23 Apr. 2018 Throughout his two terms as governor, Scott has been unwilling to acknowledge climate change as a threat to the state. Amy Green, miamiherald, "With Gov. Scott and legislature in denial, tiny town adapts on its own to climate change," 11 July 2018 Seehofer was unwilling to accept any amendments and repeatedly postponed his presentation of the document. Jefferson Chase, USA TODAY, "German government crisis: Chancellor Angela Merkel gets migrant compromise," 3 July 2018 Still smarting from the Republicans’ successful obstruction of then-President Obama’s 2016 pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia, Democrats are especially unwilling to accept business as usual on Supreme Court appointments. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What are Dems to do about the SupCo?," 27 June 2018 For instance, health care professionals may be unwilling or inadequately trained to work with fathers. Joyce Y. Lee And Shawna J. Lee, Houston Chronicle, "Study: Fathers are forgotten by parenting programs," 17 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unwilling.' 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 unwilling

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unwilling

Dictionary Entries near unwilling








Statistics for unwilling

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unwilling

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unwilling



English Language Learners Definition of unwilling

: not wanting to do something

: made to do something that you do not want to do


un·​will·​ing | \ˌən-ˈwi-liŋ \

Kids Definition of unwilling

: not willing : reluctant

Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly adverb
unwillingness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on unwilling

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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