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[uhn-fair] /ʌnˈfɛər/
not fair; not conforming to approved standards, as of justice, honesty, or ethics:
an unfair law; an unfair wage policy.
disproportionate; undue; beyond what is proper or fitting:
an unfair share.
Origin of unfair
before 900; 1705-15 for def 1; Middle English: uncomely, ugly; Old English unfæger; cognate with Old Norse ūfagr. See un-1, fair1
Related forms
unfairly, adverb
unfairness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unfair
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But she constantly recalls what that snobbish Bines was unfair enough to tell her.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Why she did not quite like them she did not yet know, and was anxious not to be unfair.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • He was a very severe, and often unfair, critic of his predecessors.

    Apu Ollantay Anonymous
  • "Every single thing that you have done that was unfair to me all my life," said Linda.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Wouldn't it be unfair to Rose to be so generous to his wife?

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
British Dictionary definitions for unfair


characterized by inequality or injustice
dishonest or unethical
Derived Forms
unfairly, adverb
unfairness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unfair

Old English unfægr "unlovely," from un- (1) "not" + fair. Cf. Old Norse ufagr, Gothic unfagrs. Meaning "wicked, evil, bad" is recorded from c.1300. Sense of "not equitable, unjust" is first recorded 1713. Related: Unfairly; unfairness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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