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[uhn-prof-i-tuh-buh l] /ʌnˈprɒf ɪ tə bəl/
being without profit; not showing or turning a profit:
a series of unprofitable ventures.
pointless or futile:
an unprofitable three years in a routine job.
Origin of unprofitable
1275-1325; Middle English. See un-1, profitable
Related forms
unprofitableness, unprofitability, noun
unprofitably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unprofitable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Don't you think we had better avoid all unprofitable discussion?

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • But the mixture was undoubtedly flat, stale and unprofitable.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • Pepsy had no money invested in their unprofitable enterprise, for she had no money to invest.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • Numberless women have withered in this unprofitable service to chastity.

    The Truth About Woman C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • Grip was by no means an idle or unprofitable member of the humble household.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for unprofitable


not making a profit
not fruitful or beneficial
Derived Forms
unprofitability, unprofitableness, noun
unprofitably, adverb
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 unprofitable

early 14c., from un- (1) "not" + profitable. Related: Unprofitably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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