unfortunate

1 of 2

adjective

un·​for·​tu·​nate
ˌən-ˈfȯrch-nət,
-ˈfȯr-chə- How to pronounce unfortunate (audio)
1
a
: not favored by fortune : unsuccessful, unlucky
an unfortunate young man
b
: marked or accompanied by or resulting in misfortune
an unfortunate decision
2
a
: infelicitous, unsuitable
an unfortunate choice of words
b
: deplorable, regrettable
an unfortunate lack of taste

unfortunate

2 of 2

noun

: an unfortunate person

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The all-female panel, sadly lacking artist and stage designer Es Devlin due to unfortunate logistics, was all smiles as Nicole Ching, specialist advisor of 20th/21st century art at Christie’s, introduced them. George Nelson, ARTnews.com, 5 July 2024 And a New York City screening featured an unfortunate moment of its own. Ralph Novak, Peoplemag, 5 July 2024
Noun
The two unfortunates who’ve been cast as his keepers are his husband, Martin (Ben Whishaw), and Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), with whom Tomas strikes up a romance. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 4 Aug. 2023 The true unfortunates, though, are the people who were injured or died in these incidents and who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 8 July 2023 See all Example Sentences for unfortunate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unfortunate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

1683, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near unfortunate

Cite this Entry

“Unfortunate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfortunate. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

unfortunate

1 of 2 adjective
un·​for·​tu·​nate ˌən-ˈfȯrch-(ə-)nət How to pronounce unfortunate (audio)
1
a
: not fortunate : unlucky
b
: showing, accompanied by, or resulting in misfortune
an unfortunate experience
unfortunate investments
2
a
: unsuitable, infelicitous
an unfortunate choice of words
b
: deplorable sense 1
an unfortunate lack of taste
unfortunately adverb

unfortunate

2 of 2 noun
: an unfortunate person

More from Merriam-Webster on unfortunate

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