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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Beyond just questionable related party transactions, various fundamental governance norms and laws are not being adhered to and this is inevitably going to lead to unfortunate outcomes unless effective measures are taken today. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "A promoter has raised serious governance issues with India’s largest airline," 10 July 2019 In 1839, in the New Hebrides, an unfortunate fellow from the London Missionary Society was killed and eaten mid sermon. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Exploring Polynesia's Islands by Cruise," 28 June 2019 Regardless, the timing of these slip-ups is unfortunate for FedEx. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "'We Are Not Law Enforcement:' FedEx Sues the Commerce Department Over Huawei Export Rules," 25 June 2019 The two books have quite a lot in common, including the unfortunate decision not to include footnotes or references. Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books, "The Lure of Western Europe," 6 June 2019 And to suggest that this movement doesn’t make women strong and stronger is really unfortunate. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "GOP Senate nominee calls #MeToo a “movement toward victimization”," 8 Oct. 2018 Or rather, a former prince who due to unfortunate circumstances had been reduced to working as a janitor in Silicon Valley. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Google’s former PR boss Jessica Powell wrote a satirical novel about tech and published it all on Medium," 2 Oct. 2018 Even the unfortunate circumstances that landed Storm in the aquarium last year can help with conservation. Alex Stuckey, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas State Aquarium doubles down on wildlife rescue, rehabilitation after Harvey," 3 June 2018 This is an unfortunate, but probably predictable, development for a company that never seemed to make that much sense from a business standpoint: using a very large airplane to launch relatively small rockets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Falcon Heavy ready to fly, Stratolaunch plane put up for sale," 21 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of unfortunate

Adjective

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

Noun

1683, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unfortunate

Statistics for unfortunate

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfortunate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on unfortunate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!