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From Middle English unacceptabylle, equivalent to un- +‎ acceptable.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌʌn.æk.ˈsɛp.tə.bl̩/, /ˌʌn.ək.ˈsɛp.tə.bl̩/, [ˌɐn.æk.ˈsɛp.tə.bɫ̩], [ˌɐn.ək.ˈsɛp.tə.bɫ̩]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌʌn.æk.ˈsɛp.tə.bl̩/, /ˌʌn.ək.ˈsɛp.tə.bl̩/, [ˌɐn.æk.ˈsɛp.tə.bɫ̩], [ˌɐn.ɪ̞k.ˈsɛp.tə.bɫ̩]


unacceptable (comparative more unacceptable, superlative most unacceptable)

  1. unsatisfactory; not acceptable
    • 2011 December 16, Denis Campbell, “Hospital staff 'lack skills to cope with dementia patients'”, in Guardian[1]:
      "This shocking report proves once again that we urgently need a radical shake-up of hospital care," said Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society. "Given that people with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds and that many leave in worse health than when they were admitted, it is unacceptable that training in dementia care is not the norm."
    • 2023 March 8, David Clough, “The long road that led to Beeching”, in RAIL, number 978, page 38:
      The British Transport Commission (BTC) was created to own not just the railways, but also London Underground, docks, inland waterways, and some road haulage activities. Its remit was to operate on a break-even basis, with sustained losses unacceptable.
  2. (linguistics) not conforming to accepted usage



Derived terms[edit]



unacceptable (plural unacceptables)

  1. Something that is not acceptable.
    • 1989, Walter A. Henry, Michael Menasco, Hirokazu Takada, New-product Development and Testing, page 106:
      Second, the data collected using CASEMAP afford us the opportunity to conduct market segmentation analyses based on the similarity in the pattern of unacceptables and/or the benefits that consumers seek in the category.