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  1. not achieving or not attended with success: an unsuccessful person; an unsuccessful venture.
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Origin of unsuccessful

First recorded in 1610–20; un-1 + successful
Related formsun·suc·cess·ful·ly, adverbun·suc·cess·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for unsuccessful

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unsuccessful

fruitless, disastrous, abortive, doomed, ineffectual, ineffective, futile, losing, ill-fated, vain, useless, failed, foiled, defeated, unlucky

Examples from the Web for unsuccessful

Contemporary Examples of unsuccessful

Historical Examples of unsuccessful

British Dictionary definitions for unsuccessful


  1. not having succeeded
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Derived Formsunsuccessfully, 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 unsuccessful


1610s, from un- (1) "not" + successful. Related: Unsuccessfully.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper