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

Car break-ins are surging there, but arrests are rare and police seem unable or even unwilling to protect the public. Fox News, "Tucker: Brett Kavanaugh and the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party," 18 Sep. 2018 But in the same neighborhoods that experience the most murders, witnesses have gone silent, unable or unwilling to confide in members of a police force viewed as adversaries. Kathleen Frydl, Vox, "Why we should abolish ICE — and the DEA too," 14 Aug. 2018 Police were continuing to investigate the shooting, the second shooting in the city in about a three-hour span in which the victim was unable or unwilling to provide information on a possible suspect. The Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Gunshot victim in Phoenix described as 'uncooperative' by police," 8 June 2018 But the Clippers had been unwilling to do a sign-and-trade that would have netted them Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews and his expiring contract of $18.7 million, according to officials. Broderick Turner, latimes.com, "Clippers center DeAndre Jordan opts out of contract. He's expected to join the Mavericks," 30 June 2018 Among others, the lawmakers seek answers to some basic questions that for now the company has been unwilling to answer publicly. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Senators to Google: Why didn’t you disclose Google+ vulnerability sooner?," 11 Oct. 2018 Advocates say many undocumented immigrants are unwilling to undergo government background checks for fear of alerting authorities to their presence in the United States. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration reunites just over half of young separated children, says the rest are ineligible," 12 July 2018 Although hepatitis C infects as many as 1 in 7 state inmates, according to The New York Times, prisons cannot or are unwilling to pay for the cost of treatment, which can be thousands of dollars. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "Not all Californians can get life-saving hepatitis C treatment. Governor's budget aims to fix.," 27 June 2018 Pak was unwilling to provide a clear answer when asked whether North Korea had raised the issue during the meeting. Kim Tong-hyung, The Christian Science Monitor, "North, South Korea to host reunions for war-split families," 22 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.

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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

5 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for unwilling

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of unwilling

: not willing : reluctant

Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly adverb
unwillingness noun

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Comments on unwilling

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