- not employed; without a job; out of work: an unemployed secretary.
- not currently in use: unemployed productive capacity.
- not productively used: unemployed capital.
- (used with a plural verb) people who do not have jobs (usually preceded by the): programs to help the unemployed.
- without remunerative employment; out of work
- (as collective noun; preceded by the)the unemployed
- not being used; idle
adj.1600, “at leisure, not occupied,” from un- (1) “not” + past participle of employ. Meaning “temporarily out of work” is from 1660s. The noun meaning “unemployed persons collectively” is from 1782; unemployment first recorded 1888. [Say the] voices of the unemployed …No man has hired usWith pocketed handsAnd lowered facesWe stand about in open placesAnd shiver in unlit rooms …[T.S. Eliot, “Choruses from the Rock”]