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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 unfairness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet all I could do was to rail against the unfairness of the unwarranted punishment.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • If you had not been so busy boasting over your own unfairness you could have heard our approach.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • They would not have tolerated him, only he was on his trial, and they were anxious to avoid any suspicion of unfairness.

    The Squire's Daughter Silas K(itto) Hocking
  • Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter.

    Peter and Wendy James Matthew Barrie
  • He calls attention to such injustices as miscegenation, lynching, unfairness of the courts, and discrimination in traveling.

British Dictionary definitions for unfairness


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 unfairness



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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