Definition of unwitting in English:



  • 1(of a person) not aware of the full facts.

    ‘an unwitting accomplice’
    • ‘We also know there are unreal news stories; that is to say we know that an unnamed source planted a made-up story with an unwitting reporter.’
    • ‘All they'd have to do is plant explosives in the baggage of unwitting travellers, then let the dogs sniff the explosives out.’
    • ‘Every nation has its supply of people ready to exploit unwitting members of the public.’
    • ‘I was no longer the poor unwitting victim of some innocent's stupidity; I had been selectively harvested and used as a disguise for an underhand trader.’
    • ‘I like this shot because of the shift in interpretation that occurs between the window decal and the shadow it casts on this unwitting patron.’
    • ‘The Wandsworth resident was outraged when he found parking tickets were being slapped on unwitting motorists who were actually obeying the restrictions in his street.’
    • ‘It's up to you to decide whether he is the unwitting victim of conspiracies.’
    • ‘He told unwitting staff at the Chesterfield company that the blood was from a dog he had knocked down, before asking them to store the professionally sealed oil drum at their site.’
    • ‘Edward II's lover, Piers Gaveston, is said to haunt the ramparts of Scarborough Castle, luring unwitting victims to their death over the walls.’
    • ‘The fate of as-yet unborn individuals did not fall from above into the hands of poor, unwitting scientists who want nothing other than the best for all mankind.’
    • ‘By accepting everyone's (well, almost everyone's) invitations, he makes other people the unwitting authors of his destiny.’
    • ‘For maximum visual effect, she chose as her protest spot a seat down in the delegation rows on the floor, taking a chair offered to her by an unwitting man.’
    • ‘He, they believe, was carefully positioned by network executives as an unwitting victim of sloppy reporting by a subordinate.’
    • ‘In the end, the tale of an elfin waitress who spreads happiness among her unwitting friends and neighbours grossed £90m.’
    • ‘Gardaí are investigating these unusual crimes, which target unwitting visitors to graveyards who leave their valuables in the cars.’
    • ‘He was given a shot at sexist type reversion when commenting on the recently published parallel parking formula - written by an unwitting female.’
    • ‘The attempted robbery took place at around 11.10 pm on Sunday in Pilgrims Lane, South Ockendon, turning an unwitting driver into a vigilante.’
    • ‘A woman who suffered a 48-hour kidnap ordeal may have been the unwitting victim of an underworld drug debt row sparked by a string of recent seizures.’
    • ‘Now coming up with tenuous rationales for persuading unwitting students to choose your major is hardly unique to any field of study.’
    • ‘On the one hand there are those who argue, quite plausibly, that legal and apparently innocent products can introduce nandrolone into the bodies of unwitting athletes.’
    unknowing, unconscious, unsuspecting, oblivious, unaware, innocent
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  • 2Not done on purpose; unintentional.

    ‘we are anxious to rectify the unwitting mistakes made in the past’
    • ‘But what could other less reputable concerns do with such data captured inadvertently from unwitting Web sites?’
    • ‘It is also a fact that for some time past, there had been an unwitting personality clash in the making between them.’
    • ‘But Scotland themselves provided unwitting encouragement when he missed the chance which would have buried them.’
    • ‘However, even if the IRB decide that his deception was unwitting, there appears to be no chance whatsoever that he will play for Scotland again.’
    • ‘These were all blameless cases of unintentional and unwitting mental telegraphy, I judge.’
    unintentional, unintended, inadvertent, involuntary, unmeant, unthinking, unplanned, unpremeditated, unconscious, accidental, chance
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Old English unwitende ‘not knowing or realizing’ (see un-, wit).