unemployed

If you're ready to work but can't find a job, you're unemployed. It can be a struggle for someone who's unemployed to pay their bills.

People who lose their jobs are unemployed, at least until they find another one. Most governments have programs to support unemployed people as they search for work. To be employed means to have a paying job, but before the 17th century this word simply meant "be busy devoting yourself to something," and unemployed was used for people who weren't occupied with activities, but were enjoying some leisure time.

Definitions of unemployed
  1. adjective
    not engaged in a gainful occupation
    unemployed workers marched on the capital”
    Synonyms:
    idle
    not in action or at work
    discharged, dismissed, fired, laid-off, pink-slipped
    having lost your job
    idle, jobless, out of work
    not having a job
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    employed
    having your services engaged for; or having a job especially one that pays wages or a salary
    busy
    actively or fully engaged or occupied
    engaged
    having services contracted for
    hired
    having services engaged for a fee
    on the job, working
    actively engaged in paid work
    show more antonyms...
  2. noun
    people who are involuntarily out of work (considered as a group)
    “the long-term unemployed need assistance”
    synonyms: unemployed people
    see moresee less
    type of:
    people
    (plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week