from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not likely to develop in a desirable manner: an unpromising beginning to the relationship.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not promising

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not promising; not affording a favorable prospect of success, of excellence, of profit, of interest, etc.; not looking as if likely to turn out well: as, an unpromising youth; an unpromising season.
  • Synonyms Inauspicious, unpropitious, unfavorable, untoward.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. unlikely to bring about favorable results or enjoyment


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sir Joshua says above, that even "unpromising" subjects may be thus treated.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 328, February, 1843

  • In this kind of unpromising context, the Industry Interface is a big step.

    IndiaPRwire - Press/News Releases

  • Exactly the kind of unpromising non-answer that the local bureaucracy excells at.

    China Media Blog

  • Critics also included officials in the White House, which shared many of the antipoverty goals of the campaign, but worried about what one official called its “unpromising circumstances.”

    Burial for a King

  • Before Bain, he spent two years proselytizing for Mormon converts in the unpromising vineyards of France.

    Mitt's Moment

  • Over the centuries, ingenuity wedded to necessity helped to create a range of recipes that brought out the best in even the most unpromising ingredients.

    Offal Good

  • – American author Mark Twain (1835-1910) We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again.

    Russ Carnahan (D, MO-03) tries to pander to gun-friendly voters. | RedState

  • It is a measure of Nicholas Phillipson's gifts as a writer that he has, from this unpromising material, produced a fascinating book.

    A Wealth Of Ideas

  • The only time he ever got airsick was one morning when the flying conditions looked unpromising and, assuming that his flight would be scrapped, he “proceeded to power down on two big, huge breakfast burritos.”

    The Last Ace

  • UK audiences lap up 3D horror, while Simon Pegg's Burke and Hare makes an unpromising debut in sixth place

    3D boosts flagging Saw series with biggest-ever opening


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