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See more synonyms for unforgiving on Thesaurus.com
  1. not disposed to forgive or show mercy; unrelenting.
  2. not allowing for mistakes, carelessness, or weakness: the unforgiving nature of aviation.
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Origin of unforgiving

First recorded in 1705–15; un-1 + forgiving
Related formsun·for·giv·ing·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unforgiving

unrelenting, ruthless, cruel, relentless, heartless, harsh, demanding, grim, pitiless, remorseless, revengeful, unkind, unsympathetic, uncompassionate, difficult, hard, severe, uncharitable

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Contemporary Examples of unforgiving

Historical Examples of unforgiving

British Dictionary definitions for unforgiving


  1. not willing to forgive; unmerciful
  2. (of a machine, system, etc) allowing little or no opportunity for mistakes to be corrected
  3. harsh and unremittingan unforgiving and desolate landscape
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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 unforgiving


1713, from un- (1) "not" + present participle of forgive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper