un·​awares | \ ˌən-ə-ˈwerz How to pronounce unawares (audio) \

Definition of unawares

1 : without design, attention, preparation, or premeditation
2 : without warning : suddenly, unexpectedly

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Examples of unawares in a Sentence

the thunderstorm caught us unawares, and we scrambled to get off the ridge as lightning started to flash
Recent Examples on the Web Michael Packard was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, Friday, when the capital cetacean caught him unawares. Evan Simko-bednarski, CNN, 11 June 2021 However, Zhao notes that even if the government has the technology needed to spot such fakes, the public might be caught unawares. Will Knight, Wired, 28 May 2021 The Senate, seemingly caught unawares, initially refused to accept delivery of the subpoenaed material for lack of a secure place to store it. BostonGlobe.com, 25 Apr. 2021 Another person caught unawares by the filing was the N.R.A.’s general counsel, John Frazer. New York Times, 11 Apr. 2021 Lawmakers in Arizona also appear to have been caught unawares by the Trump announcement, according to the Arizona Republic. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 25 Nov. 2020 China was caught unawares by a disease that was evidently spreading for a month or more in Wuhan before anyone noticed; the country’s frantic learning now is helping save the lives everywhere of the sickest cases. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2020 His figures are fully animated, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and often, when captured unawares, deeply moving in their private reveries. Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2020 On the other hand, Newcastle don't have a shortlist of managers prepared at all say the Times, with Benitez's impending departure catching them unawares, despite, y'know, being quite a while coming and very, very obvious. SI.com, 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unawares.' 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 unawares

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for unawares

un- + aware + -s, adverb suffix, from Middle English, from -s, genitive singular ending of nouns — more at -s

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The first known use of unawares was in 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Unawares.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unawares. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for unawares



English Language Learners Definition of unawares

: without warning


un·​awares | \ ˌən-ə-ˈwerz How to pronounce unawares (audio) \

Kids Definition of unawares

1 : without warning : by surprise "The danger is being caught unawares."— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted
2 : without knowing : unintentionally I came upon them unawares.

More from Merriam-Webster on unawares

Nglish: Translation of unawares for Spanish Speakers


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