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 What is unfortunate is when the transmission of cognitive aptitudes and skills becomes so much a matter of the transmission of family advantages that a child’s prospects can be largely predicted by information about his or her parents. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Is the individual obsolete?," 17 July 2019 Pelosi exhibits an unfortunate flaw of the entire party: the inability to think past the next election cycle. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 2019 All reasonable steps were taken to prevent this very unfortunate incident and our staff responded swiftly and in line with our emergency protocols and procedures. Colleen Shalby, latimes.com, "Family says when sharks attacked woman, tour guides did nothing to help," 10 July 2019 Over the past few days, Justin kept his followers updated with the unfortunate circumstances around Gabe’s declining health. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Marathon Runner Gabriele 'Gabe' Grunewald Dies at 32 After Decade-Long Battle with Cancer," 12 June 2019 In some unfortunate circumstances, your skin can react badly to the intrusion. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "9 Smart Questions to Ask Before Getting a Tattoo," 9 Nov. 2018 There, in the hazy mix of death and rubble begins the meandering series of unfortunate events that changes the course of Theo’s life. Garrett Mitchell, Detroit Free Press, "Visually appealing ‘Goldfinch’ is far from a masterpiece," 12 Sep. 2019 The time of the unfortunate event was 10:02 a.m. Tuesday. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Someone call 911. Jenean Hampton just caused Matt Bevin's head to explode," 17 June 2019 Going Crazy Going Crazy: Your question sent me down the (unfortunate) rabbit hole of researching why men send these particular pictures to other people — sometimes to virtual strangers. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Sexting situation unsettles spouse," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The film's title is a shape representing the meeting point between the physical world and the one beyond; hairy, patient moths seem to hold the souls of some unfortunates, though why some people meet this fate is unclear. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "‘8’: Film Review | Fantasia 2019," 23 July 2019 Our family name, Ramirez, is the same name of these unfortunates who did not make it across the river. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: We must see the human cost of the crisis at the border (6/29/19)," 30 June 2019 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

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

5 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce unfortunate (audio)

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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