[uhn-prof-i-tuh-buh l]


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 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. 2019

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



not making a profit
not fruitful or beneficial
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper