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[uhn-wit-ing] /ʌnˈwɪt ɪŋ/
inadvertent; unintentional; accidental:
His insult, though unwitting, pained her.
not knowing; unaware; ignorant; oblivious; unconscious:
an unwitting person.
Origin of unwitting
before 900; Middle English; Old English unwittende; see un-1, wit2, -ing2
Related forms
unwittingly, adverb
unwittingness, noun


[uhn-wit] /ʌnˈwɪt/
verb (used with object), unwitted, unwitting.
Obsolete. to render devoid of wit; derange.
First recorded in 1595-1605; un-2 + wit1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unwitting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I followed thee to thy prison, unwitting it would turn into a palace.

  • With that water aged Iapix washed the wound, unwitting; and suddenly, lo!

  • And did he look so pityingly as you describe, and bless me as I was praying, unwitting of his presence?

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • He is no more in a strait betwixt two, or unwitting what he shall choose.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Alexander Maclaren
  • For one second she saw the unwitting, involuntary response in his eyes.

    It Pays to Smile Nina Wilcox Putnam
British Dictionary definitions for unwitting


adjective (usually prenominal)
not knowing or conscious
not intentional; inadvertent
Derived Forms
unwittingly, adverb
unwittingness, noun
Word Origin
Old English unwitende, from un-1 + witting, present participle of witan to know; related to Old High German wizzan to know, Old Norse vita
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 unwitting

Old English unwitende, from un- (1) "not" + witting. Cf. Old High German unwizzanti, German unwissend, Old Norse uvitandi, Gothic unwitands. Rare after c.1600; revived c.1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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