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See more synonyms for unkind on Thesaurus.com
adjective, un·kind·er, un·kind·est.
  1. lacking in kindness or mercy; severe.
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Origin of unkind

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at un-1, kind1
Related formsun·kind·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unkindness

Historical Examples

  • How often is distress, similar to this, aggravated by unkindness!

    Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I

    Francis Augustus Cox

  • To complain of a brother's unkindness, that, indeed, I might do.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Had their unkindness then really driven her to seek for peace in solitude?

  • You might think I bad-met with unkindness; but it was not so; it was the other way more than I deserved.

  • But the windows remained closed, and she was wounded by this as by an unkindness to herself.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for unkindness


  1. lacking kindness; unsympathetic or cruel
  2. archaic, or dialect
    1. (of weather) unpleasant
    2. (of soil) hard to cultivate
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Derived Formsunkindly, adverbunkindness, 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 unkindness



early 13c. (implied in unkindly), "strange, foreign, unnatural," from un- (1) "not" + kind (adj.). Meaning "lacking in kindness" is recorded from mid-14c. Related: Unkindly; unkindness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper