[ uhn-fawr-chuh-nit ]
/ ʌnˈfɔr tʃə nɪt /


suffering from bad luck: an unfortunate person.
unfavorable or inauspicious: an unfortunate beginning.
regrettable or deplorable: an unfortunate remark.
marked by or inviting misfortune: an unfortunate development.
lamentable; sad: the unfortunate death of her parents.


an unfortunate person.

Nearby words

  1. unforgiven,
  2. unforgiving,
  3. unformatted,
  4. unformed,
  5. unforthcoming,
  6. unfortunately,
  7. unfortune,
  8. unfounded,
  9. unfranked income,
  10. unfree

Origin of unfortunate

First recorded in 1520–30; un-1 + fortunate

Related formsun·for·tu·nate·ly, adverbun·for·tu·nate·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unfortunate

British Dictionary definitions for unfortunate


/ (ʌnˈfɔːtʃənɪt) /


causing or attended by misfortune
unlucky, unsuccessful, or unhappyan unfortunate character
regrettable or unsuitablean unfortunate speech


an unlucky person
Derived Formsunfortunateness, 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 unfortunate



1520s, "unlucky," from un- (1) "not" + fortunate. Infortunate in same sense is from late 14c. (along with a verb infortune "to render unhappy," and a noun meaning "bad luck). In late 18c.-early 19c., unfortunate woman was a polite way to say "prostitute." The noun meaning "one who is not fortunate" is recorded from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper