un vs dissatisfied

Which should I be? or can I be both?

This is just my opinion, but word usage is mostly about opinions anyway.

Unsatisfied desribes a need or requirement that has not been met. “Our request for you to pay your back taxes remains unsatisified. We are therefore putting a lien on your poodle.” “I ran out of dog food so my poodle’s hunger is unsatisfied.”

Dissatisfied describes the demeanor of a person, usually a customer, who is not happy about the state of affairs. “I was very dissatisfied when the groomer shaved all the hair off my poodle.”

I sense an implication that dissatisfied implies that something happened, and the something made me less satisfied than nothing at all.

Unsatisfied simply implies the absence of satisfaction.


I tend to use unsatisfied (if at all–it is rather rare) only to indicate that a hunger has not been satisfied while I use dissatisfied to indicate that something does not measure up to a particular standard.

To me, unsatisfied suggests merely that a goal has not been met whereas dissatisfied suggests that an actual negative outcome has occurred.

so like dissatisfied with a situation, unsatisfied feelings?

I can’t help asking if you feel disspun, unspun. :confused:

Compare “unarmed” and “disarmed”. Unarmed means the person never had a weapon, while disarmed means he had one and it was taken away.

That’s true but analogies often don’t work for word usage. Compare “uninterested” and “disinterested.”

If I walk in for a trim and find I’ve gotten a crew cut, then I am dissatisfied, and I was never satisfied to start with.

Yes… ‘unsatisfied’ means the desire has not been met: “I live in the Sahara, and thus my desire for plump Asian trout remains eternally unsatisfied.” ‘Dissatisfied’ means the desire has been met and was found wanting: “One month, a traveler promised me plump Asian trout. He returned with a package. I opened it and cooked the fish within, and it was thin and bony, not plump at all. My desire remains. I am dissatisfied.”

For a long time, uninterested indicated lacking an interest or curiosity while disinterested indicated a lack of personal involvement or feelings and could be used as a synonym for dispassionate.
That distinction has crumbled in recent years, of course.

Or, that the desire was met, and was somehow lost: “I was satisfied with this job for years until they stopped providing free coffee; now I’m dissatisfied with it.”