adjective, un·hap·pi·er, un·hap·pi·est.

sad; miserable; wretched: Why is she so unhappy?
unfortunate; unlucky: an unhappy incident.
unfavorable; inauspicious: an unhappy omen.
infelicitous; unsuitable: an unhappy choice of words.
Archaic. causing trouble; reprehensible; troublesome.

Origin of unhappy

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

Synonyms for unhappy

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

Examples from the Web for unhappy

Contemporary Examples of unhappy

Historical Examples of unhappy

  • And were you as unhappy as you expected to be during this visit?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • But, my daughter, why is it that the commands of Phidias would have made you unhappy?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • It was this refusal which made Halbert discontented and unhappy.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • “Alack for the unhappy lads; and alack for those who egged them on,” said the priest.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • The unhappy woman, to whom I had specially come, was smitten indeed.

British Dictionary definitions for unhappy


adjective -pier or -piest

not joyful; sad or depressed
unfortunate or wretchedan unhappy fellow
tactless or inappropriatean unhappy remark
archaic unfavourable
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 unhappy

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper