[ uhn-em-ploi-uh-buhl ]
/ ˌʌn ɛmˈplɔɪ ə bəl /
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unsuitable for employment; unable to find or keep a job.
an unemployable individual.
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Origin of unemployable

First recorded in 1885–90; un-1 + employable

OTHER WORDS FROM unemployable

un·em·ploy·a·bil·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does unemployable mean?

Unemployable most commonly means unsuitable for employment or unable to keep a job.

The word employable generally means available and able to be hired for a job, especially for long-term employment, but usually also implies that a person is a desirable candidate for a job. Unemployable is the opposite of this.

When a person is described as unemployable, it’s usually a very negative and often insulting statement about how they’re not fit to hold a job in any way.

However, unemployable can also be used in a neutral way that means they’re not able to be hired for some reason, such as legal status or a lack of positions.

Example: Most employers consider convicted felons unemployable, but we give people a second chance.

Where does unemployable come from?

The first records of the word unemployable come from the late 1800s. It’s formed from the prefix un-, meaning “not,” and the word employable, which is first recorded around the 1600s. Its base word, the verb employ, derives from the Latin implicāre, meaning “to engage.”

When companies search for employees, they narrow the field to employable candidates. In the most basic sense, this often means people who are legally able to hold that job. But the most employable candidates are those who fit—or exceed—all the qualifications the company is seeking. Describing someone as unemployable is the opposite of this. It usually implies that not only is a person not fit for a specific job, they’re not fit for any job.

Unemployable should not be confused with the word unemployed, which describes someone who doesn’t have a job.

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What are some other forms related to unemployable?

What are some words that share a root or word element with unemployable

What are some words that often get used in discussing unemployable?


How is unemployable used in real life?

Unemployable is most commonly used in a negative way.



Try using unemployable!

Is unemployable used correctly in the following sentence?

Even though he was cleared of the charges, the stigma surrounding the case made him unemployable.

How to use unemployable in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for unemployable

/ (ˌʌnɪmˈplɔɪəbəl) /

unable or unfit to keep a job

Derived forms of unemployable

unemployability, 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