• synonyms


[uhn-prof-i-tuh-buh l]
See more synonyms for unprofitable on Thesaurus.com
  1. being without profit; not showing or turning a profit: a series of unprofitable ventures.
  2. pointless or futile: an unprofitable three years in a routine job.
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Origin of unprofitable

1275–1325; Middle English. See un-1, profitable
Related formsun·prof·it·a·ble·ness, un·prof·it·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·prof·it·a·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unprofitable

worthless, unsuccessful, fruitless, futile, idle, useless, nonprofit, profitless, hopeless, pointless, vain, unhelpful, barren, dry, sterile, unavailing, unfruitful, inutile, gainless, unrewarding

Examples from the Web for unprofitable

Contemporary Examples of unprofitable

Historical Examples of unprofitable

  • Don't you think we had better avoid all unprofitable discussion?


    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


  1. not making a profit
  2. not fruitful or beneficial
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Derived Formsunprofitability or unprofitableness, noununprofitably, 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

Word Origin and History for unprofitable


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper