Definition of thankless in US English:



  • 1(of a job or task) difficult or unpleasant and not likely to bring one pleasure or the appreciation of others.

    • ‘Curiously, there was barely a reporter in sight - the one I recognized was the Sun scribe with the thankless task of reporting on his own boss's conference-opening speech.’
    • ‘We are now in an era where refereeing is becoming a more difficult and thankless job.’
    • ‘I would like to express my appreciation to the outgoing Editorial Board for its dedication and scientific judgment in the often difficult and generally thankless task of reviewing submissions.’
    • ‘After this period had elapsed, an unhappy looking young ground hostess had the thankless job of informing the impatient travellers that more information would be available at 17.00.’
    • ‘What's the point of talking about paid work giving a parent an ‘opportunity for self-development’ if that work is the anonymous, thankless job of a cleaner or catering assistant?’
    • ‘This is a messy and particularly thankless task that comes with the job, and challenges an editor's perception of the field and himself.’
    • ‘The Vehicle Inspectorate does a difficult and thankless task extremely well and that is the reason that we drive some of the safest cars in the world.’
    • ‘Fashioning a preventive detention policy is likely to be a thankless task here as well.’
    • ‘The study of dead civilizations is difficult, frustrating, and, ultimately, a thankless job whose results are invariably heaped with criticism.’
    • ‘To Kevin falls the job of fair co-ordinator, a fairly onerous and often thankless task, but one that Kevin obviously enjoys.’
    • ‘It is a thankless task, they do a good job and I hope they do not get too upset and see this as personal.’
    • ‘I'm sure that creating such a list is a difficult and thankless task, but including albums that had simply been recorded in Philly made the list a lot less meaningful to me.’
    • ‘Regulating the appearance of a public burial ground is among the most difficult and thankless tasks in local government.’
    • ‘There is no less thankless job than being the one responsible for the grunt work in the office: writing a decent letter and holding the secret knowledge on how to replace the toner in the photocopier are underappreciated skills.’
    • ‘But there can be no doubt that the four people at the head of the district's winter service are dedicated professionals performing a more often than not thankless task in difficult circumstances.’
    • ‘People thank you for a thankless job that is at times very unpleasant, to say the least.’
    • ‘Experience shows that the only thing rivaling the terror of actually getting a job is the thankless task of finding a job.’
    • ‘What could appeal more to anxious women voters than a political party that fights alongside them in the thankless task of preparation?’
    • ‘Nothing was ever too much trouble, day or night, no matter how unpleasant or thankless the tasks were.’
    • ‘He asked me bluntly, ‘Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?’’
    unappreciated, unrecognized, unrewarded, unacknowledged
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) not expressing or feeling gratitude.
      • ‘I sat the thankless wretch down, and asked him what he wanted out of life.’
      • ‘Beware of a presumptuous and thankless person who tends to take advantage of your good nature.’
      • ‘Nikki Reed, who co-wrote and starred in Thirteen, is given the thankless girlfriend/sister role.’
      • ‘In that thankless sister role, Bernier manages some winning moments.’
      • ‘Beware of a thankless and presumptuous person who expects too much from you without contributing himself in any way.’
      • ‘Lucie replies that she is not thankless, but that that ‘dreadful woman’ has thrown a shadow over her hopes.’
      ungrateful, unappreciative, unthankful
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