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[uhn-hap-ee] /ʌnˈhæp i/
adjective, unhappier, unhappiest.
sad; miserable; wretched:
Why is she so unhappy?
unfortunate; unlucky:
an unhappy incident.
unfavorable; inauspicious:
an unhappy omen.
infelicitous; unsuitable:
an unhappy choice of words.
Archaic. causing trouble; reprehensible; troublesome.
Origin of unhappy
1250-1300; Middle English: causing misfortune, objectionable; see un-1, happy
Related forms
unhappily, adverb
unhappiness, noun
1. sorrowful, downcast, cheerless, distressed. 2. hapless. 3. unpropitious. 4. inappropriate, inapt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unhappily
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Should it be ever so unhappily, will it be prudence to complain or appeal?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • And then unhappily, as I may say, was I at home and present.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • For my part, unhappily, I'm consumed by a desire to learn and know.

  • unhappily, there are too many of your breed in that part already.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • What if the Empire should unhappily have been established without his aid?

  • You say I know the lady, and am, unhappily, too deeply interested in her—who is she?

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • You are aware that your father was unhappily involved in political troubles?

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • unhappily too the doubt comes from scholars, from persons who have tried these methods.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
British Dictionary definitions for unhappily


adjective -pier, -piest
not joyful; sad or depressed
unfortunate or wretched: an unhappy fellow
tactless or inappropriate: an unhappy remark
(archaic) unfavourable
Derived Forms
unhappily, adverb
unhappiness, 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 unhappily

early 14c., from un- (2) + happily (see happy). Cf. Old Norse unheppiliga.



c.1300, "causing misfortune or trouble (to oneself or others)," from un- (1) "not" + happy. Meaning "unfortunate, unlucky" is recorded from late 14c.; sense of "miserable, wretched" is recorded from late 14c. (originally via misfortune or mishap).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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