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[dih-zur-ving] /dɪˈzɜr vɪŋ/
qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one's actions, qualities, or situation:
the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
meriting; worthy:
a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.
Origin of deserving
First recorded in 1570-80; deserve + -ing2
Related forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun
self-deserving, adjective
undeserving, adjective
undeservingly, adverb
undeservingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for undeserving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To my mind, it is undeserving of even respectful consideration.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • Then he remembered the shelter which he had himself established for the undeserving poor.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • That's what I am—an undeserving, ungrateful, irresponsible, and asinine pup!

    Athalie Robert W. Chambers
  • A landsman or boy in a coaster, undeserving the pay of a full-man.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • I have given help readily to the deserving, fearlessly to the undeserving.

    Meditations Marcus Aurelius
  • No inquiry into wisdom, however superficial, is undeserving attention.

    The Disowned, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The undeserving were not treated with quite the same indulgence.

British Dictionary definitions for undeserving


often postpositive and foll by of. worthy, esp of praise or reward
(rare) a merit or demerit; desert
Derived Forms
deservingly, adverb
deservingness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for undeserving

1540s, from un- (1) "not" + present participle of deserve.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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