mis·​for·​tune | \ ˌmis-ˈfȯr-chən How to pronounce misfortune (audio) \

Definition of misfortune

1a : an event or conjunction of events that causes an unfortunate or distressing result : bad luck by misfortune he fell into bad company had the misfortune to break his leg
b : an unhappy situation always ready to help people in misfortune
2 : a distressing or unfortunate incident or event misfortunes never come singly

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Synonyms & Antonyms for misfortune


adversity, ill, knock, misadventure, mischance, mishap, tragedy


fortune, luck, serendipity

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Choose the Right Synonym for misfortune

misfortune, mischance, adversity, mishap mean adverse fortune or an instance of this. misfortune may apply to either the incident or conjunction of events that is the cause of an unhappy change of fortune or to the ensuing state of distress. never lost hope even in the depths of misfortune mischance applies especially to a situation involving no more than slight inconvenience or minor annoyance. took the wrong road by mischance adversity applies to a state of grave or persistent misfortune. had never experienced great adversity mishap applies to an often trivial instance of bad luck. the usual mishaps of a family vacation

Examples of misfortune in a Sentence

a victim of economic misfortune She endured her misfortune without complaint. It was my misfortune to be chosen first. Her injury was a great misfortune. He blamed the party's misfortunes on poor leadership.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In closing out a 3-0 record for the four-day tournament, NASA-Orange just overpowered all who had the misfortune to cross the team’s path. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Barr’s blast caps NASA-Orange’s perfect run to Coast Region crown," 16 July 2019 However, the company’s preference for Boeing aircraft has lent it more than its fair share of misfortune. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Why Norwegian Air is failing," 21 Aug. 2019 Another Hitchcock classic, this time with Cary Grant at his debonair best as a spy who has the misfortune to fall for a woman (Bergman) recruited to infiltrate a Nazi ring by marrying one of its leaders (Claude Rains), who's also in love with her. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Essential movies of the 1930s and '40s, from 'King Kong' to 'The Heiress'," 15 Aug. 2019 Connecticut has the great misfortune to be located at the convergence of wind patterns from the Midwest and South. Jan Ellen Spiegel, courant.com, "With air quality on the line, Connecticut is ready to fight new Trump power plan," 19 June 2019 His left hind leg had a gruesome injury from the past — maybe from being hit by a car, maybe from some other misfortune — that left his knee twisted 180 degrees and surrounded by dead tissue. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Coming to the rescue: Newport resident’s dog food company starts nonprofit to get homeless dogs veterinary care," 7 July 2018 And new graduates face competition from older peers still recovering from the misfortune of graduating during the Great Recession. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, The Seattle Times, "Settling for a survival job right out of college can hurt your career for years," 22 June 2018 And new graduates face competition from older peers still recovering from the misfortune of graduating during the Great Recession. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Why settling for a subpar job right out of college can hurt your career for years," 13 June 2018 Kelly, who’s in only the second year of a five-year, $23.5-million contract, presumably has at least a few more seasons to reverse his early misfortunes, but fans may not be as forgiving as the school’s athletics administrators. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Cracks starting to show in Chip Kelly’s UCLA strategy? Longtime observer thinks so," 8 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misfortune.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of misfortune

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for misfortune

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for misfortune

The first known use of misfortune was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for misfortune



English Language Learners Definition of misfortune

: bad luck
: an unlucky condition or event


mis·​for·​tune | \ mis-ˈfȯr-chən How to pronounce misfortune (audio) \

Kids Definition of misfortune

1 : bad luck
2 : an unfortunate situation or event

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Comments on misfortune

What made you want to look up misfortune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving a confidence or trust

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