un·​will·​ing | \ ˌən-ˈwi-liŋ How to pronounce unwilling (audio) \

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

Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly \ ˌən-​ˈwi-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce unwilling (audio) \ 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 With Congress, so far, unwilling to pass a bill President Biden has sought to directly address issues such as climate change, the SEC and other regulators have taken on an increasingly proactive role. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, 19 Jan. 2022 But beware of Boards of Directors comprised of C-Suite friends and associates unwilling to speak truth-to-power – which many of them are. Steve Andriole, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 Maika was either unwilling or unable to recognize that the issue was bigger than the final tally of which books ended up being returned to the library shelves. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Jan. 2022 Still, there are many other Olympic precursors unwilling to take a chance so close to the Beijing Games. Dave Skretta, ajc, 6 Jan. 2022 Polling also indicates many parents are also unwilling or unsure about vaccinating their children against Covid-19. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 Because of its recent history of attacks, repatriating nationals who left to wage jihad has long carried a political risk that President Emmanuel Macron has seemed unwilling to take. New York Times, 15 Dec. 2021 From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 3 Dec. 2021 What's even more amazing is that Republican leaders -- not named Donald Trump -- are either unwilling or incapable of steering the party in another direction. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021

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

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Last Updated

28 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unwilling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwilling. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce unwilling (audio) \

Kids Definition of unwilling

: not willing : reluctant

Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly adverb
unwillingness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unwilling

Nglish: Translation of unwilling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unwilling for Arabic Speakers


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