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

During his first 17 months as president, Donald Trump has grown ever more confident in his fitness for the job — while remaining resolutely unwilling to execute the most basic responsibilities of his office. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Briefing Book Includes ‘Screen Grabs of Cable-News Chyrons’," 8 June 2018 Then there’s the bad: In Sri Lanka, anti-Muslim riots were organized via Facebook, requiring the government to do what Facebook was unwilling to do: shut Facebook down. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Facebook Binds, and Shatters, Communities," 11 May 2018 In a memo to the agency's board on Monday, MWD officials said the decision followed discussions with major agricultural districts that remain unwilling to make any financing commitments for the project, known as California WaterFix. Bettina Boxall, latimes.com, "Metropolitan Water District backs away from plan to finance both delta tunnels," 3 Apr. 2018 The state’s poverty problem is unlikely to improve while policymakers remain unwilling to unleash the engines of economic prosperity that drove California to its golden years. Kerry Jackson, National Review, "California, America’s Poverty Capital," 23 Jan. 2018 Plus, North Korea has an ally in China, which seems unwilling or unable to caution Pyongyang over its nuclear ambitions. Mirren Gidda, Newsweek, "What We Know About North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb," 6 Jan. 2016 However, his relationship with Madrid soured over time, with the club unwilling to incrementally increase his salary every time another player, such as Messi, signed a contract bigger than Ronaldo’s. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Cristiano Ronaldo set to join Juventus from Real Madrid," 10 July 2018 The goalkeeper is said to have a €60m release clause in his contract and Barcelona have previously been reported as unwilling to sell for any less than that. SI.com, "Barcelona Goalkeeper Prepared to Submit Transfer Request Amid Rumours of Liverpool Interest," 9 July 2018 There are many accounts of I-4 motorists angered by SGL denials and unwilling to give up easily. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 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

3 Sep 2018

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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

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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