in·​fe·​lic·​i·​ty ˌin-fi-ˈli-sə-tē How to pronounce infelicity (audio)
plural infelicities
: the quality or state of being infelicitous
: something (such as a word or phrase) that is infelicitous
minor infelicities

Examples of infelicity in a Sentence

the infelicity of holiday decorations at a funeral home
Recent Examples on the Web And that’s setting aside odd turns, factual infelicities and jokes that don’t land. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, 9 May 2023 There is the occasional infelicity in the book. William Fotheringham, WSJ, 16 July 2021 The Postcard is a somewhat strange book, not without the occasional infelicity of translation, almost experimental in its form. Lisa Wong MacAbasco, Vogue, 9 Jan. 2023 But the infelicities of the translation are of relatively minor concern. Mitchell Abidor, The New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2020 The usual infelicities of intergenerational living — different standards of kitchen cleanliness, for example — set me on an edge that felt unwarranted. Mathina Calliope, Longreads, 3 Dec. 2019 And any fair examination of his record in office shows that these infelicities aren’t really relevant to a just evaluation of his performance. Conrad Black, National Review, 11 Sep. 2019 The book suffers from some infelicities: Alexander the Great is shown with two blue eyes, though he is said to have had one blue and one hazel, like David Bowie ; also, the samurai Tomoe Gozen fought a horde of attackers, not a hoard. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2018 There were some slight infelicities of ensemble playing at the beginnings of the slow movements, but otherwise this was a performance that was eager to draw the listener into communion with Copland’s affirmative spirit. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'infelicity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English infelicite unhappiness, from Latin infelicitas, from infelic-, infelix unhappy, from in- + felic-, felix fruitful — more at feminine

First Known Use

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of infelicity was in 1617

Dictionary Entries Near infelicity

Cite this Entry

“Infelicity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​fe·​lic·​i·​ty ˌin-fi-ˈlis-ət-ē How to pronounce infelicity (audio)
plural infelicities
: a lack of suitability
: an inappropriate act or expression
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