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



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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 Death, and other less-certain future misfortunes, are far from his mind. The Economist, "Myanmar admits foreign life insurers," 5 Dec. 2019 For architects with the misfortune to follow him, Wright is seen as having created the standards by which they are judged. Christopher Benfey, Harper's magazine, "Burning Down the House," 25 Nov. 2019 Also present are the housekeeper, Fran (Edi Patterson)—who had the misfortune to discover Harlan's body—and Harlan's nurse and primary caretaker, Marta (Ana de Armas). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Twists upon twists in Knives Out will keep you guessing ’til the end," 24 Nov. 2019 These days, according to the bartender, the saloon accepts toes lost to other misfortunes, including lawnmower accidents. Smithsonian, "Gold Fever! Deadly Cold! And the Amazing True Adventures of Jack London in the Wild," 24 Oct. 2019 The apparitions came to let all know not to forget them, their families and their stories -- stories of tragedy, financial misfortunes, calamitous family relations and, finally, death. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland, "Heritage Avon Lake gets spooky with Theater of the Dead," 21 Oct. 2019 Now Beckham is gone, and New York's top WRs in training camp all suffered some sort of misfortune, including Golden Tate's four-game suspension. Des Bieler, chicagotribune.com, "The top fantasy football tight ends to draft in 2019," 15 Aug. 2019 The recollection of serious misfortunes (a car accident, for example, that had no lasting effects to keep its memory fresh) can seem more amusing the more time passes. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 Travel insurance operators told The Post that they have been inundated with inquiries about how their coverage, which applies to misfortunes such as illness and injury, might work for those headed to the Dominican Republic. Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "Deaths in Dominican Republic could be ‘mysterious.’ But so far, all signs point to ‘normal.’," 20 June 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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Time Traveler for misfortune

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

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Statistics for misfortune

Last Updated

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Misfortune.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misfortunes. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for misfortune


How to pronounce misfortune (audio)

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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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