adverb un·for·tu·nate·ly \ ˌən-ˈfȯrch-nət-lē , -ˈfȯr-chə- \
|Updated on: 18 Jul 2018
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

  1. 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 Spectator31 Aug. 2008
  2. 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.Nature27 Apr. 2006
  3. 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 GrayNew York Review of Books11 Aug. 2005
  4. 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. LemonickTime28 Feb. 2005
  5. 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 GingerichScientific AmericanNovember 1992

Recent Examples of unfortunately from the Web

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.

First Known Use of unfortunately

circa 1548

in the meaning defined at sense 2

See Words from the same year
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