un·​win·​na·​ble | \ˌən-ˈwi-nə-bəl \

Definition of unwinnable 

: incapable of being won an unwinnable struggle also : impregnable an unwinnable fortress

Examples of unwinnable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While legal threats can have a chilling effect on individual ROM sites, stopping the illicit distribution of classic gaming ROMs wholesale is likely an unwinnable game of Internet Whac-A-Mole. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Lawsuit threat shuts down ROM downloads on major emulation site," 9 Aug. 2018 Its most troubling revelation, as seen through the eyes of a tough but idealistic FBI agent played by Emily Blunt, wasn’t that the war on drugs was unwinnable. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Violent, self-admiring sequel 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' gets lost in the desert," 26 June 2018 Vinegar Here’s another battle that’s probably unwinnable because the product isn’t going away and truthful terminology doesn’t even exist. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Dishonest menus: Diners, beware of 7 restaurant lies you may be swallowing right now," 13 June 2018 With national Democrats playing up their chances, Christine Mai-Duc and Jazmine Ulloa dive in to report on the more than a dozen California Democrats who are attempting to unseat GOP incumbents in districts long considered unwinnable. Christina Bellantoni, latimes.com, "The California primary is tomorrow. Get ready for a long night (or week!)," 4 June 2018 Ultimately, Laurel may have been in a simply unwinnable position, destined to lose against Domenick and Wendell, but without a true alternate game plan. Stephen Fishbach, PEOPLE.com, "Wendell Holland Wins Survivor After First-Ever Tie Vote," 23 May 2018 But Captain Medina and Lieutenant William L. Calley Jr., who was subsequently convicted of murder at a court-martial as the leader of the platoon that carried out the massacre, came to be viewed by many as scapegoats in an unwinnable conflict. Richard Goldstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Ernest Medina, 81, Army captain acquitted in My Lai Massacre," 14 May 2018 That’s not why the Mariners no longer had room on their roster for Ichiro, who at 44 has been fighting an unwinnable battle against age. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Ichiro Suzuki: The last of his kind in home run era," 3 May 2018 YouTube has tried to address the problem in part by introducing new parental controls, but history tells us that this may be an unwinnable battle. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Kevin’s Week in Tech: Let’s Check In on the Other Social Networks, Shall We?," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unwinnable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of unwinnable

circa 1540, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unwinnable

Share unwinnable

Dictionary Entries near unwinnable








Statistics for unwinnable

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unwinnable

The first known use of unwinnable was circa 1540

See more words from the same year

Comments on unwinnable

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


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!