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See more synonyms for unawares on Thesaurus.com
  1. while not aware or conscious of a thing oneself; unknowingly or inadvertently.
  2. without warning; by surprise; suddenly; unexpectedly: to come upon someone unawares.
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Origin of unawares

First recorded in 1525–35; unaware + -s1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for unawares

Historical Examples

  • At least, Yates, with all his experience, thought he had taken her unawares.

    In the Midst of Alarms

    Robert Barr

  • Blessings, then, upon these young wayfarers, for they have "blessed me unawares."

  • "It was an unexpected blow; it caught me unawares," he said heatedly.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • I had unawares added to her grief, for her brother Charley was going to Switzerland too.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • You will take them unawares; but I flatter myself you will not find them unprepared.

British Dictionary definitions for unawares


  1. without prior warning or plan; unexpectedlyshe caught him unawares
  2. without being aware of or knowinghe lost it unawares
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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

Word Origin and History for unawares


1530s, "without being aware," from un- (1) "not" + aware + adverbial genitive -s. Meaning "without being noticed" is recorded from 1660s. Form unaware is recorded from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper