un·​for·​tu·​nate·​ly | \ˌən-ˈfȯrch-nət-lē, -ˈfȯr-chə-\

Definition of unfortunately 

1 : it is unfortunate Unfortunately, in the intervening years, time has not stood still for the global environment.— Al Gore A young man can work at excessive speed with no ill effects, but youth is unfortunately not a permanent condition of life.— F. Scott Fitzgerald The past couple years have ended unfortunately for us, and we're using it as motivation.— James Moyers

2 : in a regrettable, unlucky, or unsuitable manner : in an unfortunate manner "Have you an agreeable neighbourhood here? Are the Middletons pleasant people?" "No, not all," answered Marianne; "we could not be more unfortunately situated."— Jane Austen

Examples of unfortunately in a Sentence

Our awards program evaluates wine lists, not restaurants as a whole. While we assume the level of food and service will be commensurate with the quality of the wine lists submitted by award winners, this unfortunately is not always true. Wine Spectator, 31 Aug. 2008 Coral reefs provide essential goods and services to maritime tropical nations and are the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. Unfortunately, reefs are seriously declining because of global warming. — Andrea G. Grottoli et al., Nature, 27 Apr. 2006 There are many books announcing a global economic transformation and suggesting that governments can be reengineered to adapt to it in much the same way as corporations.  … Unfortunately the problems of globalization are more intractable than those of corporate life. States cannot be phased out like bankrupt firms, and large shifts in wealth and power tend to be fiercely contested. — John Gray, New York Review of Books, 11 Aug. 2005 Doctors have long believed that children experience pain differently than adults. Unfortunately, most doctors thought kids felt pain less than grownups do, and didn't retain memory of it. As late as the 1970s, infants underwent major surgery without anesthetics.  … This barbaric notion was finally put to rest in the 1980s … — Michael D. Lemonick, Time, 28 Feb. 2005 In the aftermath of the Revolution, Americans desperately needed some non-British heroes. Columbus filled the bill even though no one knew much about him until novelist Washington Irving visited Spain, found a rich lode of source materials and produced a widely read biography. Unfortunately, Irving mixed fiction with fact, and one of his most graphic scenes, set in Salamanca, was wildly imaginative. — Owen Gingerich, Scientific American, November 1992
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Recent Examples on the Web

Having any kind of mental illness is often still stigmatized, unfortunately. Beth Mccoll, SELF, "A Shout Out to Anyone Who Deals With Depression in the Summer," 6 July 2018 The dialogue here is frank and funny and refreshing—unfortunately too obscene to be quoted in an American newspaper. David Mason, WSJ, "‘Stories’ and ‘True Stories’ Review: Life, Pinned to the Page," 13 July 2018 Weeks went by, and unfortunately, there was not much improvement. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The radio man without a voice," 15 June 2018 That's their very football song, but unfortunately, England lost. Fox News, "President Trump puts NATO on notice," 12 July 2018 But during a recent royal visit to Ireland, the younger royal let loose—unfortunately at the expense of his father, Prince Charles. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Made a Savage Joke About His Dad and We All Missed It," 11 July 2018 If Lyft and Uber drivers do show some bias, well, unfortunately their riders do, too. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "The Good and Bad of Ride-Sharing When It Comes to Race," 11 July 2018 Clay ended up scoring the final touchdown but unfortunately broke his wrist in the process. Becca Kufrin, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin on That 'Embarrassing' Group Date — and Falling for One 'Standup Man'," 9 July 2018 This is unfortunately about as close as Ross comes to integrating any meaningful gender insights into his film. Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, "The Modestly Diverting Gender Swap of Ocean’s 8," 8 June 2018

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

circa 1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for unfortunately

The first known use of unfortunately was circa 1548

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More from Merriam-Webster on unfortunately

Spanish Central: Translation of unfortunately

Nglish: Translation of unfortunately for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unfortunately for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unfortunately

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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