Definition of infelicity in English:



  • 1A thing that is inappropriate, especially a remark or expression.

    ‘she winced at their infelicities and at the clumsy way they talked’
    • ‘This means that typos and infelicities are more likely to remain, but that you're less likely to see a post repeated several times.’
    • ‘It's even easier to find uncontroversial typos, grammatical errors, malapropisms and other infelicities in unedited texts written by less skilled writers, or by writers in a hurry.’
    • ‘This argument contains several infelicities in reasoning, which have now been also revealed by the developments in the Czech Republic.’
    • ‘Of course, we alone are responsible for any remaining errors or infelicities.’
    • ‘All of them made me think again about important aspects of the work, and prevented many errors and infelicities from reaching a wider audience.’
    • ‘Yes, I dare say you can find errors and infelicities in the posts on this noble blog.’
    • ‘Any infelicities in the plot are airily waved away.’
    • ‘The many infelicities of language are distracting and far too many spelling mistakes and peculiar capitalisations got past the editors.’
    • ‘The major one is that the book is very poorly copyedited, with many typos and stylistic infelicities.’
    • ‘While there is little that is new in Kirk's presentation, and the writing is marred by many infelicities and misprints, anyone who writes with sensitivity on this practitioner of Baroque poetry deserves encouragement.’
    • ‘Regrettably, the book is marred by numerous infelicities and occasional outright errors of translation.’
    • ‘The booklet, in spite of numerous typos and other language-related infelicities, is a wonderful resource, because it includes short biographies of every singer represented.’
    • ‘These small infelicities do not detract from a remarkable piece of research that will be of interest to scholars and generalists alike.’
    • ‘Beyond procedural or stylistic infelicities, the author's conclusions prompt further reflection.’
    • ‘One hopes that in a second edition - perhaps one more suited to the pockets of undergraduates - these infelicities will be corrected.’
    • ‘The book's conclusion is a model and does much to make the reader forget the earlier organizational infelicities.’
    • ‘Yet despite some questionable procedures and a few infelicities, these neonaturalists with the conservationist aims have done just that.’
    • ‘If they could be improved, and the stylistic infelicities, misprints and translation inaccuracies removed, a second edition would pass muster as a useful introductory text.’
    • ‘Two or three infelicities of diction I hesitate to remedy and don't much regret.’
    • ‘It is therefore difficult to apportion blame or credit to him, as the infelicities of the production and the interpretations of the characters should perhaps more properly be ascribed to Sir Peter.’
    mistake, error, blunder, slip, lapse, solecism, misusage, impropriety
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic [mass noun] Unhappiness; misfortune.

    ‘the infelicity which accompanies some people through life’
    • ‘Like an ass, he wears out his time for provender, and can show an old torn gown, an ensign of his infelicity.’
    • ‘Her infelicity seemed to have years too many.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘unhappiness’): from Latin infelicitas, from infelix, infelic- unhappy, from in- not + felix happy.