un·​wit·​ting | \ ˌən-ˈwi-tiŋ How to pronounce unwitting (audio) \

Definition of unwitting

1 : not knowing : unaware kept the truth from their unwitting friends
2 : not intended : inadvertent an unwitting mistake

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unwitting

unwittingly \ ˌən-​ˈwi-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce unwittingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of unwitting in a Sentence

He kept the truth from his unwitting friends. an unwitting victim of fraud
Recent Examples on the Web The technology began to show up in government contracts, with some companies, like Clearview AI, scraping billions of photos of unwitting members of the public from social media to build a near-universal facial recognition system. NBC News, "Big Tech juggles ethical pledges on facial recognition with corporate interests," 18 May 2020 The results of this unwitting experiment are only beginning to be calculated. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running Now," 8 June 2020 Consider the exploitation of Black biomedical research subjects, like Henrietta Lacks and the unwitting Tuskegee syphilis study participants. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Across the Globe, Scientists Are Striking for Black Lives," 10 June 2020 Some, including the committee’s top Democrat, have suggested that Johnson is serving as an unwitting pawn in a Russian disinformation campaign. Mike Debonis, BostonGlobe.com, "Senate panel approves subpoena targeting Hunter Biden," 20 May 2020 But the NXNSAttack can cause an unwitting DNS server to perform hundreds of thousands of requests every time a hacker's machine sends just one. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Web Giants Scrambled to Head Off a Dangerous DDoS Technique," 19 May 2020 This approach could lead to the faster detection of individuals who are unwitting carriers of the disease and an ability to quickly clear others who have not been infected. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, "Coronavirus Test Shortages Trigger a New Strategy: Group Screening," 13 May 2020 The only light is the dim glow of bioluminescence—from electric jellies, camouflaged shrimp, and toothy predators with natural lanterns to attract unwitting prey. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, "Thirty-six Thousand Feet," 10 May 2020 Or one for which Miss Manners suspects the answer will be purposefully slapped on the breakfast counter in front of an unwitting spouse to resolve an ongoing grievance. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Correcting acquaintance’s gendered comments," 8 May 2020

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unwitting

Time Traveler for unwitting

Time Traveler

The first known use of unwitting was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for unwitting

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unwitting.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwitting. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unwitting


How to pronounce unwitting (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unwitting

: not aware of what is really happening
: not intended or planned

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unwitting

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unwitting

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unwitting

Spanish Central: Translation of unwitting

Nglish: Translation of unwitting for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unwitting

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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