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See more synonyms for deserving on Thesaurus.com
  1. qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one's actions, qualities, or situation: the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
  2. meriting; worthy: a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.
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Origin of deserving

First recorded in 1570–80; deserve + -ing2
Related formsde·serv·ing·ly, adverbde·serv·ing·ness, nounself-de·serv·ing, adjectiveun·de·serv·ing, adjectiveun·de·serv·ing·ly, adverbun·de·serv·ing·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for undeserving

ineligible, inappropriate, unsuitable, unfit, shameful, undeserving, base, beneath, blamable, contemptible, degrading, disgraceful, dishonorable, disreputable, good-for-nothing, ignoble, improper, inexcusable, nothing, offensive

Examples from the Web for undeserving

Contemporary Examples of undeserving

Historical Examples of undeserving

  • 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!


    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.


    Marcus Aurelius

British Dictionary definitions for undeserving


  1. (often postpositive and foll by of) worthy, esp of praise or reward
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  1. rare a merit or demerit; desert
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Derived Formsdeservingly, adverbdeservingness, 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

Word Origin and History for undeserving


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper