not ready; not made ready: The new stadium is as yet unready for use.
not in a state of readiness; unprepared: emotionally unready for success.
lacking in presence of mind, as when a quick decision or a sharp answer is required: Awkward situations often found him unready.
British Dialect. not dressed.
not prompt or quick.

Origin of unready

First recorded in 1250–1300, unready is from the Middle English word unredy. See un-1, ready
Related formsun·read·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unreadiness

Historical Examples of unreadiness

  • Violent revolutions may be charged up to the unreadiness of statesmen.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

  • The penalty which had to be paid for this unreadiness was heavy.

  • Bonaparte had rightly calculated upon the unreadiness of his enemy.

  • Unreadiness is a great vice in the Turkish bath appended to these institutions.

    The Turkish Bath

    Robert Owen Allsop

  • She sees his unreadiness to answer, and attributes it to a wrong cause.


    Rhoda Broughton

British Dictionary definitions for unreadiness



not ready or prepared
slow or hesitant to see or act
archaic not dressed
Derived Formsunreadily, adverbunreadiness, 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 unreadiness



mid-14c., "not prepared," from un- (1) "not" + ready. In English history, applied to Anglo-Saxon King Æðelræd II (968-1016), where it preserves the fuller original sense of Old English ungeræd "ill-advised, rede-less, no-counsel" and plays on the king's name (which means "good-counsel"). The epithet is attested from early 13c. Old English ræda "advise, counsel" is related to read (v.). Rede "counsel" survived in poetic usage to 17c. An attempted revival by Scott (19c.) failed, though it is used in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper