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 formsun·fair·ly, adverbun·fair·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unfairly

Contemporary Examples of unfairly

Historical Examples of unfairly

  • The guard treated him unfairly, lied about him to the warden, lost his credits, persecuted him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • He'd say, and not unfairly either, 'What has Davis to do with this?

  • "If so, he's treating me unfairly," said Norwood, rising and pacing the room.

  • Yet there was not perhaps any wish to have the House of Commons unfairly packed.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor

    W. Llewelyn Williams.

  • He had been unfairly forced out of the track, and must get back into it as best he could.

British Dictionary definitions for unfairly



characterized by inequality or injustice
dishonest or unethical
Derived Formsunfairly, adverbunfairness, 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

Word Origin and History for unfairly



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