mis·​for·​tune | \ˌmis-ˈfȯr-chən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for misfortune


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


fortune, luck, serendipity

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, North is committing again to an extremely specific idea: an instruction guide to rebuilding civilization for anyone with the misfortune of getting stuck in a broken time machine. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Here's a Guide for Reinventing the World If Your Time Machine Gets Stuck in the Past," 18 Sep. 2018 Today, the number 13 is synonymous with misfortune. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Why Do People Think the Number 13 Is Unlucky? Let's Talk About Triskaidekaphobia," 29 Aug. 2018 Though not himself Irish, dealing with misfortune or guilt is a trademark of Dubus’s work. BostonGlobe.com, "A writer’s writer and the inevitability of bad times," 6 July 2018 Ross Klein, a Canadian academic, studies corruption of cruise corporations and logs all the misfortune that happens on and off board. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "The case against cruises," 15 Nov. 2018 To lose one major money person from your company may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two within a week looks like carelessness. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "A tale of two CEOs: Tim Cook demonstrates what some want from Elon Musk," 14 Sep. 2018 James, meanwhile, remains as transcendently dominant as ever, but had the misfortune of being really bad at assembling a superteam. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "Tiger joins LeBron in new era of underdogs," 13 June 2018 Fans can sometimes pin these things on curses, misfortune or bad luck. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Annual early Big Ten tournament exit final reminder of what IU basketball has become," 2 Mar. 2018 In general, however, public support is an advantage for a new democracy, helping to cushion the system against political misfortune. Christopher Claassen, Washington Post, "Support for democracy is declining — but not in the U.S. or other Western democracies," 5 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of misfortune

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about misfortune

Share misfortune

Statistics for misfortune

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misfortune

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misfortune



English Language Learners Definition of misfortune

: bad luck

: an unlucky condition or event


mis·​for·​tune | \mis-ˈfȯr-chən \

Kids Definition of misfortune

1 : bad luck

2 : an unfortunate situation or event

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!