Unsatisfied vs. Dissatisfied

Everybody wants to be satisfied, but many are not. There are two different flavors of not being satisfied.

Unsatisfied means you have needs that are not being met; you need more; you are unfulfilled.

After being gone for a whole month, the mere kiss on the cheek her husband gave her left her need for love unsatisfied.

Dissatisfied means you are unhappy or disappointed with what you received; you are not pleased.

He was dissatisfied with both the temperature of the food and the quality of the service at that new restaurant.

The unhappy wife in the first example was also dissatisfied, according to this definition. Although there is some overlap, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage: ” … ‘unsatisfied’ is more frequently used to modify nonhuman terms (such as ambition, debts, curiosity, demands, claims) than human ones and that in all instances the meaning is generally of something or someone being ‘unfulfilled’ or ‘unappeased.’”

There is a large, unsatisfied demand for experienced petroleum engineers.

You certainly would not use “dissatisfied” in such a sentence. Only people can be dissatisfied, whereas abstract things like hunger can go unsatisfied. However, people can also be unsatisfied if their wishes, needs, or expectations are not satisfied.

Thanks to Abdulkarim in Yemen for this excellent question from the Peanut Gallery.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“Change occurs in direct proportion to dissatisfaction, but dissatisfaction never changes.”
– Douglas Horton, American clergyman, 1891-1968


2 Responses to “Unsatisfied vs. Dissatisfied”

  1. Uninterested vs. Disinterested « Technical Writing Tips for the Oil Patch Says:

    […] The other day I got a comment from a member of the Peanut Gallery based on a recent Tip of the Day about Unsatisfied vs. Dissatisfied. (https://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/unsatisfied-vs-dissatisfied/) […]

  2. darmreinigung1a.de Says:

    What’s up to every one, the contents existing at this web page are truly awesome for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.

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