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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

un- +‎ serviceable

AdjectiveEdit

unserviceable (comparative more unserviceable, superlative most unserviceable)

  1. Unusable; of no use.
    • 1591, Walter Raleigh, A Report of the Truth of the Fight about the Iles of Açores, this last Sommer betwixt the Reuenge, one of her Maiesties Shippes, and an Armada of the King of Spaine, London: William Ponsonbie; Riverside Press, 1902,[1]
      And that which was most to our disaduantage, the one halfe part of the men of euerie shippe sicke, and vtterly vnseruiceable.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act IV, Scene 3,[2]
      First Soldier. [Reads] ‘First demand of him how many horse the duke is strong.’ What say you to that?
      Parolles. Five or six thousand; but very weak and unserviceable:
    • 1696, John Selden, Table-Talk, London: Jacob Tonson, “Humility,” p. 68,[3]
      [] if a Man hath too mean an Opinion of himself, ’twill render him unserviceable both to God and Man.
    • 1846, Herman Melville, Typee, London: John Murray, 1847, Chapter 19, p. 162,[4]
      [] things unserviceable in one way, may with advantage be applied in another, that is, if one have genius enough for the purpose.
    • 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Boston: L.C. Page, Chapter 33, p. 343,[5]
      [] I expect she’ll ruin that dress driving over there in the dust and dew with it, and it looks most too thin for these damp nights. Organdy’s the most unserviceable stuff in the world anyhow, and I told Matthew so when he got it.
  2. Not working (machinery, etc).
    • 1937, “Hornlessness,” Time, 25 January, 1937,[6]
      During 1936, revealed Pravda, the Gorky plant set itself the task of turning out 12,000 cars. The actual output was 2,500. In one day 24 of 47 cars turned out were tagged “unserviceable.”
    • 1957, Neville Shute, On the Beach, New York: William Morrow & Co., Chapter 3,[7]
      [The war] just didn’t stop, till all the bombs were gone and all the aircraft were unserviceable.
  3. Impractical.