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hapless

play
adjective hap·less \ˈha-pləs\

Simple Definition of hapless

  • : having no luck : very unfortunate

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hapless

  1. :  having no luck :  unfortunate

haplessly

adverb

haplessness

noun

Examples of hapless in a sentence

  1. She plays the hapless heroine who is unlucky in love.

  2. <the hapless motorist had barely paid his bill and driven away from the body shop when a truck sideswiped his car>



Did You Know?

Hapless literally means what you'd expect it to mean: "without hap"-"hap" being another word for "fortune" or "luck." Hap derives from the Old Norse word for "good luck." ("Happen" and "happy" are also descendants of the same ancient root word.) English has several words to describe those lacking good fortune, including "ill-starred," "ill-fated," "unlucky," and "luckless," a word formed in parallel to "hapless" by adding the suffix -less. "Ill-starred" suggests bringing calamity or the threat of a terrible fate ("the ill-starred year the Great Depression began"). "Ill-fated" refers only to being doomed ("the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic"). "Luckless" and "unlucky" usually apply to a person or thing notably or chronically unfortunate ("the luckless investor lost all her money" and "an unlucky man who failed at everything he tried").

14th Century

First Known Use of hapless

14th century

Rhymes with hapless


HAPLESS Defined for Kids

hapless

play
adjective hap·less \ˈha-pləs\

Definition of hapless for Students

  1. :  unfortunate 1 <The hapless runner tripped during the race.>





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