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

Got to see the Yankees hit three home runs in one inning, got to see a pretty hilarious, but also somewhat unfortunate play in the outfield, an Orioles player got hit in the head— Rich: When he got hit by the head? Nr Staff, National Review, "The Editors Podcast: More Mass Shootings Shake the Nation," 9 Aug. 2019 That success was followed by an unfortunate tour starring Ralph Macchio, but the 2011 revival gave audiences a look at Daniel Radcliffe opposite John Larroquette, who won a Tony for his work. Jordan Riefe, Orange County Register, "What’s hot in OC arts and entertainment for August," 31 July 2019 Teams are forced to make vital franchise decisions two-thirds into the season, which is unfortunate for their fans. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Critical time for Giants, other teams to make tough calls on future," 27 July 2019 To look at his as mere pawns in a political game is to display an unfortunate disregard for us and our plight. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Opinion: It Doesn’t Matter If Trump’s Outbursts Are A ‘Distraction’ When His Targets Are Placed In Danger," 26 July 2019 That’s unfortunate for the Wild because the 34-year-old Pavelski would have been a perfect fit in the Twin Cities. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Who can help the Wild with NHL free agency about to begin?," 30 June 2019 That’s unfortunate for a program that seeks to convince more people to ride public transit. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Transit Agencies Turn to Uber for the Last Mile," 29 June 2019 But despite the high concentration of leopards, there’ve been no attacks on people in Bera for over a century, apart from one unfortunate incident 20 years or so ago when a leopard snatched a one-year-old in Vellar village. National Geographic, "This Indian community welcomes leopards," 22 Mar. 2019 While that’s unfortunate in many ways, there’s also no way around it consistent with the principles of justice and due process. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh’s habit of dissembling makes it hard to take his word over Ford’s," 24 Sep. 2018

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

13 Aug 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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