unfortunate

adjective
un·​for·​tu·​nate | \ ˌən-ˈfȯrch-nət How to pronounce unfortunate (audio) , -ˈfȯr-chə-\

Definition of unfortunate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : not favored by fortune : unsuccessful, unlucky an unfortunate young man
b : marked or accompanied by or resulting in misfortune an unfortunate decision
2a : infelicitous, unsuitable an unfortunate choice of words
b : deplorable, regrettable an unfortunate lack of taste

unfortunate

noun

Definition of unfortunate (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unfortunate person

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Examples of unfortunate in a Sentence

Adjective

She was unfortunate enough to have been chosen as an example. an unfortunate chain of events It's unfortunate that he couldn't be here for your birthday. He has an unfortunate tendency to show up late. an unfortunate choice of words

Noun

a group of poor unfortunates
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Still, despite the best intentions of both sides, these unfortunate mishaps can sometimes feel unavoidable. Allure, "Here's How to Avoid Getting a Bad Haircut," 16 May 2019 This isn’t fool-proof, as doctors can definitely get things wrong or underestimate how much pain a person is in—an unfortunate fact that many with endometriosis know from personal experience. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "8 Ways People With Endometriosis Deal With the Pain," 24 Apr. 2019 Still, the researchers could not be sure if the patient’s decline had just been an unfortunate coincidence. Denise Grady, New York Times, "A Promising Cancer Treatment Made Patients Worse, Not Better," 5 June 2018 The timing of the project on M-1 (Woodward Avenue), formerly called Hunter Blvd. to distinguish it from Old Woodward, is just an unfortunate coincidence, said a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Birmingham's costly roadwork blocks drivers, welcomes shoppers, diners," 19 Apr. 2018 But the unfortunate reality is that until we as a society can trust people not to perpetrate assaults, sometimes safety measures such as staying together in this kind of situation are necessary. Natasha Lavender, SELF, "What to Do if Your Friend Is Passed Out Drunk," 26 Feb. 2019 The unfortunate reality is that no combination of moisturizers and acids has completely gotten rid of my redness, even when my skin is at its best. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "The It Cosmetics Foundation I Tell Everyone About Is 25 Percent Off," 2 Nov. 2018 As for the accusation that Mr. Hugin gouged patients, the unfortunate reality is that curing cancer isn’t cheap. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Menendez Method," 9 Oct. 2018 Essentially, the hot pyroclastic flows boiled the soft brain tissue and evaporated the bodily fluids of the unfortunate victims, raising the internal pressure so severely that the skulls quite literally exploded. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Extreme heat of Vesuvius eruption vaporized body fluids, exploded skulls," 9 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But that gentle slope has been known to cause strollers and wheelchairs to roll off as well, not to mention the intoxicated, the disoriented, wrestlers, and other unfortunates. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 These unfortunates spent hours each day chewing tough roots, choking down leaves and stems, munching on tiny berries and gorging on rare windfalls of meat, bone marrow and worms. Nathan H. Lents, WSJ, "The Botch of the Human Body," 13 Apr. 2018 As the threads of society break down, the poor unfortunates who survived the initial barrage don't so much live as merely exist in the post-apocalyptic ruins. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Sleep no more: Threads is coming to Blu-ray," 25 Jan. 2018 There are still unfortunates among us who have yet to lean forward and squint in disbelief at the grainy YouTube images capturing Tharpe, necklines high and hemlines low, coaxing the first, fiery licks from her Gibson SG. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "'Marie and Rosetta' brings the music and moxie of Rock Hall inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Cleveland Play House (Preview)," 21 Jan. 2018 Humor is generally the province of trolls; think of the motley assemblage of unfortunates in the slovenly writers’ room on 30 Rock, and that gives you an accurate picture of the setting in which most good jokes and satire are created in America. David Kamp, vanityfair.com, "The Years with Graydon," 7 Sep. 2017 But before that, Wilkerson would spend that year haranguing unfortunates in the Hollywood community who would go on to become targets of the blacklist, often losing their careers. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "The Columnist Who Shaped Hollywood’s Most Destructive Witch Hunt," 28 July 2017 Worse yet, the percentage of such unfortunates who are unrepresented by counsel has skyrocketed in recent decades. Jed S. Rakoff, Slate Magazine, "Do Courtroom Lawyers Make a Difference?," 31 July 2017 But before that, Wilkerson would spend that year haranguing unfortunates in the Hollywood community who would go on to become targets of the blacklist, often losing their careers. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "The Hollywood Columnist Who Shaped Its Most Destructive Witch Hunt," 28 July 2017

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

Adjective

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

Noun

1683, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unfortunate

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfortunate

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

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More Definitions for unfortunate

unfortunate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of unfortunate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having bad luck
: coming or happening by bad luck
: not appropriate or desirable

unfortunate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of unfortunate (Entry 2 of 2)

literary : an unfortunate person

unfortunate

adjective
un·​for·​tu·​nate | \ ˌən-ˈfȯr-chə-nət How to pronounce unfortunate (audio) \

Kids Definition of unfortunate

1 : not fortunate : unlucky the unfortunate victim an unfortunate incident
2 : accompanied by or resulting in bad luck an unfortunate decision
3 : not proper or suitable an unfortunate remark

Other Words from unfortunate

unfortunately adverb Unfortunately, no one was home.

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Comments on unfortunate

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