Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Etymology 1[edit]

un- +‎ read


  • IPA(key): /ˈʌn.ɹɛd/ (adjective)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛd


unread (not comparable)

  1. Not having been read.
    • 1700, Charles Hopkins, The Art of Love, (after Ovid’s Ars Amatoria), London: Joseph Wild, “The Muse,” p. 36,[1]
      At first, perhaps, unread your Note’s return’d,
      Your Person slighted, and your Passion scorn’d.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, London: Longmans, Green & Co., “Remarkable Incident of Doctor Lanyon,” pp. 59-60,[2]
      ‘PRIVATE: for the hands of J. G. Utterson ALONE and in case of his predecease to be destroyed unread,’ so it was emphatically superscribed; and the lawyer dreaded to behold the contents.
    The book I got for my 18th birthday remained unread until my retirement.
  2. Not having read; uneducated.
    • c. 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene 3,[3]
      In fortune’s love [] the bold and coward,
      The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
      The hard and soft seem all affined and kin:
      But, in the wind and tempest of her frown,
      Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
      Puffing at all, winnows the light away;
    • 1796, Elizabeth Inchbald, Nature and Art, Dublin: P. Wogan et al., Chapter 22, p. 111,[4]
      The only child of two doating parents, she never had been taught the necessity of resignation—untutored, unread, unused to reflect, but knowing how to feel []
    • 1890, Frances Willard, Address before the Seventeenth Convention of the World Woman’s Christian Temperance Union at Atlanta, Georgia, in William Jennings Bryan (editor), The World’s Famous Orations, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1906, Volume 10, p. 162,[5]
      [] only those unread in the biography of genius imagine themselves to be original.


unread (third-person singular simple present unreads, present participle unreading, simple past and past participle unread)

  1. (transitive) To undo the process of reading.
    That book was terrible! I wish I could unread it.
  2. (computing, transitive) To flag (a previously read e-mail or similar message) as unread.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English unred, unræd, from Old English unrǣd (folly, foolish plan; crime, mischief, injury, plot, treachery), equivalent to un- +‎ rede.


unread (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Bad advice or counsel.