Definition of unsustainable in English:



  • 1Not able to be maintained at the current rate or level.

    ‘macroeconomic instability led to an unsustainable boom’
    • ‘It claimed the current system was unsustainable, unfair and incoherent, and other countries such as Germany and Japan had produced much more coherent systems for assessing needs and sharing costs.’
    • ‘He also has to worry that the burgeoning trade deficit - now well above levels once considered unsustainable - might during his tenure bring to an end the recent strength of the dollar.’
    • ‘"Many sectors need investment, but the current growth rate is unsustainable.’
    • ‘So what is the cause of the low interest rates responsible for the current unsustainable situation?’
    • ‘In this situation, the fiscal position is unsustainable regardless of the current level of debt, unless the Government raises the primary surplus sufficient to offset this effect.’
    • ‘But the worry is that the overhang of plant and equipment will continue to forestall further capital investment, and that consumer spending will peter out in the face of rising unemployment and unsustainable levels of debt.’
    • ‘Because the joint ventures pay very low wages, and do not have to pay GST and local taxes, they are able to pay for quota at a level that is unsustainable or uneconomic for our local fishermen.’
    • ‘The risk of entering EMU at an unsustainable exchange rate would increase where a currency had been unstable.’
    • ‘Many of those collective agreements were not agreements at all: most were forced down the throats of defenceless factory proprietors who had a choice of paying unsustainable rates of pay or shutting down.’
    • ‘Lending rates for housing are still at unsustainable levels despite the real estate slow-down.’
    • ‘Given Wednesday's government figures showing an increase in house repossessions, the signs suggest that current price levels are unsustainable, experts warned.’
    • ‘So all of the top five can be bought for a P / E of under seven, implying investors think that the current level of profitability is unsustainable.’
    • ‘The fact of the matter is that Canadian health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate, and because of this, money is rationed through waiting lists and inadequate equipment.’
    • ‘A nationwide group economist said the society thought house prices in London and its surrounding commuter belt were still rising at an unsustainable rate, and he predicted weaker price growth in these areas next year.’
    • ‘According to a report by Cambridge Econometrics, an independent think tank, house prices in some parts of the UK have reached levels which are unsustainable in the long term.’
    • ‘Excessive domestic borrowings to finance current expenditure has resulted in debt service payments approaching unsustainable levels.’
    • ‘America is running a record trade deficit, which seems headed towards 6% of GDP, a level generally considered unsustainable.’
    • ‘Bears, however, say it is more likely this signals the current level of dividends is unsustainable.’
    • ‘Now he is urging further government intervention to push housing prices to still more absurdly unsustainable levels.’
    • ‘The carrier's real issue is that, in the face of unstoppable competition, its currently enjoyed levels of profitability are unsustainable.’
    indefensible, undefendable, unarguable, insupportable, refutable, unjustified, unwarranted, unjustifiable, inadmissible, unsound, ill-founded, flimsy, weak, shaky, flawed, defective, faulty, implausible, specious, groundless, unfounded, baseless, invalid, absurd, illogical, irrational, preposterous, senseless, unacceptable
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    1. 1.1Ecology Upsetting the ecological balance by depleting natural resources.
      ‘unsustainable fishing practices’
      • ‘At the same time, the country's fragile economy, based on unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, has imploded.’
      • ‘Scientists attribute the declines to pollution, habitat degradation, and unsustainable fishing practices that allow species to be harvested faster than they can reproduce.’
      • ‘An April 2004 proposal by the Kenya Wildlife Service for the management of Africa's lion population asserted that current levels of hunting are unsustainable.’
      • ‘The loggers maintain that the current rate of cut is unsustainable and are demanding it be halved.’
      • ‘It pledges to end unsustainable fishing by 2015, where possible.’
  • 2Not able to be upheld or defended.

    ‘both remarks are unsustainable’
    • ‘No one likes admitting that they were wrong, least of all military personnel, but there comes a point when retreat can be more honourable than defending an unsustainable position.’
    • ‘We are increasingly conscious of mounting evidence that our energy models are unsustainable.’
    • ‘In that respect we find that the Adjudicator's determination is unsustainable and cannot be upheld.’
    • ‘Black Wednesday followed two months later, when the tension between the need for lower interest rates to stimulate demand and for higher interest rates to defend the pound became unsustainable.’