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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

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British Dictionary definitions for unsuccessful


  1. not having succeeded
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper