• synonyms


See more synonyms for unhappy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, un·hap·pi·er, un·hap·pi·est.
  1. sad; miserable; wretched: Why is she so unhappy?
  2. unfortunate; unlucky: an unhappy incident.
  3. unfavorable; inauspicious: an unhappy omen.
  4. infelicitous; unsuitable: an unhappy choice of words.
  5. Archaic. causing trouble; reprehensible; troublesome.
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Origin of unhappy

1250–1300; Middle English: causing misfortune, objectionable; see un-1, happy
Related formsun·hap·pi·ly, adverbun·hap·pi·ness, noun


See more synonyms for unhappy on Thesaurus.com
1. sorrowful, downcast, cheerless, distressed. 2. hapless. 3. unpropitious. 4. inappropriate, inapt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unhappiness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • All very well to say there would be no punishment; their unhappiness was the punishment.

  • Why should he efface himself, if it meant Sidney's unhappiness?


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But her unhappiness was not because the Padres had been killed.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Can you possibly suppose that I was aware of her unhappiness!

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • Her letter to me admitted her error, and confessed her unhappiness; but there was no remedy.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for unhappiness


adjective -pier or -piest
  1. not joyful; sad or depressed
  2. unfortunate or wretchedan unhappy fellow
  3. tactless or inappropriatean unhappy remark
  4. archaic unfavourable
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Derived Formsunhappily, adverbunhappiness, 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 unhappiness



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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper