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

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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

Asking people about their drug use is entirely at the discretion of a border agent, and if someone lies or is unwilling to answer, agents are allowed to search a person’s belongings for evidence of past drug use, including their cell phone. Fox News, "Canadians could be banned from the US forever if they smoke legal pot," 21 Sep. 2018 Now, unwilling to give up his 15 minutes of fame, Markle continues to speak to the press about his daughter’s private life. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Inside Meghan Markle's First 100 Days in the Royal Family," 27 Aug. 2018 That suggests that Pope Benedict XVI either didn’t impose sanctions or never conveyed them in any official way to the people who could enforce them — or that McCarrick simply flouted them and Benedict’s Vatican was unwilling or unable to stop him. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope’s alleged cover-up pivots on when, if sanctions imposed," 28 Aug. 2018 In other cases, particularly apparel, Amazon may use private-label goods to fill a gap if clothing manufacturers or high-end designers are unwilling to sell on their platform. New York Times, "Amazon, the Brand Buster," 23 June 2018 Reckitt was most interested in Advil, Pfizer’s popular version of ibuprofen, but found Pfizer unwilling to sell the division in pieces. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Durex-Maker Reckitt Avoids $20 Billion Headache," 22 Mar. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of unwilling

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unwilling

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for unwilling

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

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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

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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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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