un·​fore·​seen | \ˌən-fȯr-ˈsēn \

Definition of unforeseen 

: not anticipated or expected : not foreseen : unexpected an unforeseen delay unforeseen consequences

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Examples of unforeseen in a Sentence

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Benefit: Proceeds will be donated to the MS Society, and to the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund, which provides money to those in the restaurant industry who are faced with unforeseen expenses not covered by insurance. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Southern Smoke tickets on sale July 10 at noon," 10 July 2018 Excess carbon dioxide became an unforeseen concern due to the large number of rescuers spending long hours inside the cave. Feliz Solomon / Chiang Rai, Time, "Four of the 12 Boys Trapped in a Thai Cave For More Than Two Weeks Have Been Rescued," 8 July 2018 Presidencies are heavily affected by circumstances out of their control -- unforeseen events that shape history and a president's role in it. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Mitt Romney predicts Donald Trump will win in 2020 'solidly.' Is he right?," 8 June 2018 When unforeseen events occur, research shows it’s better to assess them as challenges rather than threats, which promotes problem-solving rather than anxiety. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "What Can the NBA Playoffs Teach You About Performance?," 17 May 2018 Cars changed the world in all sorts of unforeseen ways. The Economist, "A different worldSelf-driving cars will profoundly change the way people live," 1 Mar. 2018 Like a rocket launch itself, unforeseen problems can cause even an experienced photographer to miss that perfect shot. Michael Stillwell, Popular Mechanics, "How To Photograph a Rocket Launch," 6 July 2018 Chen said Team Sea to Sea’s goal is to complete the course in just seven days, which allows additional time for unforeseen problems like bike breakdowns, injuries, race route changes or RV engine problems. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Blind cycling team to ride across country," 16 June 2018 But one minute into her routine, an unforeseen problem struck in the form of a nosebleed. BostonGlobe.com, "Competition yoga? No, it’s not an oxymoron.," 1 May 2018

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

1651, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

26 Oct 2018

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The first known use of unforeseen was in 1651

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More Definitions for unforeseen


un·​fore·​seen | \ˌən-fōr-ˈsēn\

Kids Definition of unforeseen

: not known beforehand : unexpected unforeseen problems

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More from Merriam-Webster on unforeseen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unforeseen

Spanish Central: Translation of unforeseen

Nglish: Translation of unforeseen for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unforeseen

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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