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[uhn-fer-giv-ing] /ˌʌn fərˈgɪv ɪŋ/
not disposed to forgive or show mercy; unrelenting.
not allowing for mistakes, carelessness, or weakness:
the unforgiving nature of aviation.
Origin of unforgiving
1705-15; un-1 + forgiving
Related forms
unforgivingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unforgiving
  • Railroading is known to operate in a hostile, unforgiving environment.
  • His metabolism also appears to have been genetically fine-tuned for life in unforgiving cold climates.
  • Single mutations venture into an unforgiving ecosystem and test their mettle.
  • The breathing-space is important as the quarterly system can be brutally unforgiving.
  • To leave them to their own devices, would mean certain defeat by an irrational, unforgiving ruler.
  • Some blamed heat and humidity for their slow times, others recalled unforgiving hills.
  • When the plane finally crashes, the characters' violent insertion into the unforgiving wasteland is appropriately jarring.
  • My hat is off to the protestors whose blogging in the icy cold was great and unforgiving of those who tried to shrug them off.
  • The scenery is stark and unforgiving, as befits such an outpost at the end of the world.
  • There is no saving grace in being confined to an iron suit, cold and unforgiving.
British Dictionary definitions for unforgiving


not willing to forgive; unmerciful
(of a machine, system, etc) allowing little or no opportunity for mistakes to be corrected
harsh and unremitting: an unforgiving and desolate landscape
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
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Word Origin and History for unforgiving

1713, from un- (1) "not" + present participle of forgive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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