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

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Other Words from unwilling

unwillingly \ ˌən-​ˈwi-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce unwillingly (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 But Republican lawmakers were unwilling to go along with the new rule, so Evers backed off. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus plans, Evers' polling bump, missing absentee ballots," 19 May 2020 Her full-time assistant who, among other things, helps with catheterisation to drain her bladder every few hours at work, is unwilling to accompany her to the hospital. Priti Salian, Quartz India, "Differently abled Indian healthcare workers fight a lonely battle against Covid-19," 8 May 2020 The Red Cross reported people in rural areas starved to death, not for lack of food but because people were unwilling to go near the sick. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "How to communicate in a postmodern pandemic," 7 May 2020 The process of reinstating staff willing to return, hiring new staff to replace those unable or unwilling to return, and training all active employees on the new mandated safety procedures is a lengthy one. Essence, "Georgia Governor Wants Theaters Open In 7 Days But Can They?," 21 Apr. 2020 Texas providers reported that parents are unwilling to share their home addresses, since permitting outsiders into one’s home can pose risk of detection and, ultimately, deportation. Mary Lehman Held, The Conversation, "Why undocumented immigrants still fear the 2020 census," 2 Apr. 2020 With demand for deliveries surging, a largely immigrant work force has become a critical link, providing food, groceries, medication and many other items that many people can no longer easily access or are unwilling to go out and purchase. New York Times, "The Delivery Workers Who Risk Their Health to Bring You Food," 19 Mar. 2020 Another factor is that many Americans may be unwilling to get back on a plane until there is a vaccine to fight the pandemic. Matt Egan, CNN, "Why oil and gas prices are rising: Cabin fever and easing social distancing," 8 May 2020 Georgia, meanwhile, lifted restrictions on businesses only to find that customers were largely unwilling to come back. Max Fisher, New York Times, "Reopenings Mark a New Phase: Global ‘Trial-and-Error’ Played Out in Lives," 7 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for unwilling

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unwilling

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unwilling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwilling. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for unwilling


How to pronounce unwilling (audio)

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

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Comments on unwilling

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