The Meaning of Unremarkable: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the word unremarkable means? This article will provide you with all of the knowledge you need on the word unremarkable, including its definition, origin, sentence examples, synonyms, antonyms and more!

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What does the word unremarkable mean?

The word unremarkable, pronounced “ˌʌnrɪˈmɑːkəb ə l” means unworthy, unlikely to be noticed, or free of abnormality, according to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Dictionary, and other dictionary editors. This word is an adjective, which means that it can be used to describe people, places, and things. Colleges might consider a young man with a C average who does not extracurricular activities to be unremarkable based on his transcripts alone. 

The opposite of the word unremarkable is remarkable, which, according to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, means likely of being noticed or worthy of being noticed, especially as it relates to being uncommon or extraordinary. This word is also an adjective. Colleges might view a young woman with a 5.0 GPA, who plays three different sports, volunteers on the weekends, speaks five languages, and performs in the school play to be remarkable based on her transcripts. 

While unremarkable usually has a negative or disappointing connotation, this is not always the case. Someone might go to the doctor for a suspicious mole that turns out to be unremarkable – simply a common new mole that emerged due to the sun. In this case, something being unremarkable would be a good thing. The mole is unremarkable, which means that it is not anything to worry about,

What is the etymology of the word unremarkable?

According to Etymonline, the word unremarkable has been used since the 1610s. The word unremarkable is formed from the prefix un- and the base adjective remarkable. This is also where we get the word unremarkably, which is the adverb form of unremarkable.

According to Etymonline, the prefix un- is used to negate words. This comes from the Old English un- and the Proto-Germanic un-, which are both prefixes that mean “not.” This is the most prolific of all English prefixes. It was widely used in Old English, where it formed over 1000 compound words. While its popularity decreased in early Middle English, it reemerged in the 16th century to form compound words with both native and imported words. This is similar to the Latin prefix in-, and can form many different words and phrases in the English language.

The word remarkable, per Etymonline, came into usage around the year 1600. This was formed from the words remark and the suffix able, which is potentially based on the French remarquable, from the French verb remarquer. This word means observable or worthy of notice, which is where it gets its meaning of something extraordinary, exceptional, or conspicuous.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word unremarkable?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word unremarkable. These are called synonyms, which are words that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Someone might choose to use a synonym for the word unremarkable in order to create a more positive connotation, or to increase their vocabulary or avoid repeating themselves. This list of synonyms for the word unremarkable is provided by Thesaurus.

  • natural
  • accustomed
  • standard
  • traditional
  • unexceptional
  • garden
  • stock
  • undistinguished
  • frequent
  • cut-and-dried
  • plain
  • established
  • average
  • typical
  • mediocre
  • indifferent
  • routine
  • usual
  • wonted
  • public
  • formulaic
  • popular
  • normal
  • common
  • prevailing
  • ordinary
  • general
  • garden-variety
  • familiar
  • customary
  • commonplace
  • humdrum
  • everyday
  • habitual
  • settled
  • quotidian
  • run-of-the-mill

What if someone wanted to describe something as the opposite of unremarkable? In this case, that person could use an antonym for unremarkable, which is a word of phrase that means the opposite of a given word or phrase. THis list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • notable
  • super
  • exceptional
  • unique
  • smashing
  • momentous
  • unordinary
  • noticeable
  • uncustomary
  • impressive
  • striking
  • gilt-edged
  • arresting
  • miraculous
  • arrestive
  • greatest
  • preeminent
  • wonderful
  • conspicuous
  • extraordinary
  • odd
  • primo
  • curious
  • wicked
  • significant
  • peculiar
  • marked
  • surprising
  • weighty
  • important
  • unwonted
  • strange
  • unusual
  • noteworthy
  • splashy
  • singular
  • zero cool
  • uncommon
  • rare
  • distinguished
  • prominent
  • phenomenal
  • salient
  • solid
  • famous
  • signal
  • outstanding
  • world class

How can the word unremarkable be used in a sentence?

The word unremarkable can be used to describe any number of people, places, and things. This word is used to describe things that are ordinary or common. In this example, Taissa and Sarai are talking about their college applications.

Sarai: This is so frustrating.

Taissa: What’s the matter?

Sarai: We’re applying to all the same schools and I know you’re going to get in and I’m not. Look at you. You’re taking ten AP classes, you play a different sport every season, you’re the captain of the debate team, and you volunteer on the weekends at the animal shelter. All I do is go to school, take average classes, and my grades aren’t even that good. I’m wholly unremarkable.

Taissa: Sarai! That is not true! Colleges are looking at way more than just your transcripts. You speak Arabic, you work everyday after school at the grocery store to help support your family. You were in the foster care system. You’re an amazing writer. I know your essay is going to wow all of these colleges. If they only took people based on numbers, they would have a college of robots. 

Overall, the word unremarkable describes something that is common, ordinary, or not worthy of note. This word stems from the prefix un-, meaning not, and the word remarkable, which means something worthy of being noticed or something that is extraordinary. Unremarkable is an adjective, which means that it is used to describe nouns. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unremarkable
  2. https://www.etymonline.com/word/unremarkable#:~:text=unremarkable%20(adj.),%2B%20remarkable%20(adj.).
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/remarkable?s=t
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/un-?ref=etymonline_crossreference#etymonline_v_4462
  5. https://www.etymonline.com/word/remarkable?ref=etymonline_crossreference#etymonline_v_36991
  6. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unremarkable
  7. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/unremarkable
  8. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remarkable