Definition of unfortunate in US English:



  • 1Having or marked by bad fortune; unlucky.

    ‘the unfortunate Cunningham was fired’
    • ‘I've been to many fires, seen the devastation, interviewed the owners of the charred properties and thought I could handle it if I was ever unfortunate enough to be in the same position.’
    • ‘Then, there is always the unfortunate chance of infection among other variables.’
    • ‘You may even have been unfortunate enough to have had your name or email address stolen and put in the ‘from’ field to make their emails look legitimate.’
    • ‘Like many others, he was unfortunate enough to lose a limb in a shooting accident but is bravely continuing with his chosen career of caring for his beloved hunting hounds.’
    • ‘If you have been unfortunate enough to loose your bag Bronilyn suggests it's best to be wary, particularly if you receive a phone call asking you to collect it from a specific location.’
    • ‘No, the simultaneous attacks were probably just an unfortunate result of chance.’
    • ‘I've been telling my friends for some time that there's little you can do if you're unfortunate enough to be at the epicenter of a terrorist attack.’
    • ‘And that's terribly unfortunate, and we have to solve this problem.’
    • ‘Yamoto, who speaks with a suspiciously western Canadian accent, laments the unfortunate set of circumstances that stranded the group in Canada.’
    • ‘In some ways perhaps, but make that point to anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be involved in a road accident, whether or not it was their fault!’
    • ‘Ask them for a European Accident Statement - you can use this if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident to record all the details you will need to make a claim.’
    • ‘I shall remember that, should I be unfortunate enough to get shot down but fortunate not to get killed in the process.’
    • ‘Muslim organisations have risen to the occasion in times of adversity to help their unfortunate brethren.’
    • ‘This is unfortunate, though not terribly surprising.’
    • ‘‘If a person is unfortunate enough to fail their test the first time they need to re-take it as soon as possible,’ he said.’
    • ‘There are psychos around, like there are anywhere and this poor person was unfortunate enough to be standing in front of a psycho who pushed him under a tube’
    • ‘The work is spread fairly and in the public interest amongst a wide range of operators to the best requirements of those who are unfortunate enough to be in an accident.’
    • ‘I was unfortunate enough to have an accident while on holiday in Minorca, where I spent eight days in hospital after an operation for a broken hip.’
    • ‘I thought we created quite a few chances but it was unfortunate we had not put them away.’
    • ‘Worse still, he smells and if you're unfortunate enough to get next to him on the cross trainer and he starts really pumping it, it can cause disturbed breathing that leads to a fatal arrhythmia.’
    unlucky, hapless, out of luck, down on one's luck, luckless, wretched, miserable, forlorn, unhappy, poor, pitiful
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    1. 1.1 (of a circumstance) unfavorable or inauspicious.
      ‘the delay at the airport was an unfortunate start to our vacation’
      • ‘The excesses committed during the unfortunate period are regrettable.’
      • ‘The unfortunate disadvantage is that you then have to cycle 17.5 miles home on a very full stomach.’
      • ‘The fact that he turns them against the people of his own country is an unfortunate by-product which must be borne in silence.’
      • ‘If you're one of the most famous women in the world, but with an unfortunate reputation for making terrible films, why would you choose to do this?’
      • ‘For the second successive weekend an unfortunate clash of fixtures will leave some of the York area's hardcore of match anglers with divided loyalties.’
      • ‘After the match, coach Mackie said he was extremely happy with the players' efforts, but it was unfortunate that the Warriors were not able to convert their chances in the box.’
      • ‘Lindsay had the unfortunate chance of meeting Izzy last year when she dropped off her Christmas present and Izzy had answered the door.’
      • ‘This approach has put their opponents at an unfortunate disadvantage; for, again, no one wants to go to a drama and be presented with dry facts.’
      • ‘The long chain of unfortunate events indicate that Taiwanese businesspeople can easily become targets of bandits in China.’
      adverse, disadvantageous, unadvantageous, unfavourable, unlucky, untoward, unwelcome
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    2. 1.2 Regrettable or inappropriate.
      ‘his unfortunate remark silenced the gathering’
      • ‘‘The way I expressed it was very unfortunate and I regret it,’ he said.’
      • ‘Kapia acted very childishly in his remarks pertaining to that unfortunate incident, a sensible person would not even think of making such a remark.’
      • ‘That ad, which included unfortunate remarks about spinal-cord injury, should never have been approved, much less written.’
      • ‘‘It is important to say the Navy regrets this unfortunate incident,’ said a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet.’
      • ‘But the Canadian leader said he had told Blair ‘that this was not the time for intemperate or unfortunate remarks’.’
      • ‘Firstly, I regret that this unfortunate incident occurred and reiterate our apology to Mrs Hill's family.’
      • ‘I think the choice of photograph was ugly, unfortunate, sensationalistic and inappropriate.’
      • ‘Anyone who can afford one will not regret it, despite the unfortunate way it is sold.’
      • ‘This is an unfortunate misrepresentation of my remarks, and misleads readers about the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.’
      • ‘‘It's certainly an unfortunate incident that we regret,’ a White House spokesman told a news briefing.’
      • ‘For me, Schorr's remark was an unfortunate symptom of his poverty of imagination.’
      • ‘And it's not as the Mexican government presented it as an unfortunate remark.’
      • ‘It is driven, as much as anything, by the terrible intrusion on the privacy of and damage caused to Princess Diana some years ago by some very inappropriate and unfortunate photographs.’
      • ‘I recognise that the legal action we took in September in order to formalise our agreement with Tracy created an unfortunate and regrettable public dispute.’
      • ‘Well I think the US decision on health claims for soy in relation to cardiovascular disease, was unfortunate and inappropriate.’
      • ‘The Namibian Government has instituted investigations regarding the shooting by their officer and has expressed regret over this unfortunate incident.’
      • ‘That was 12 years ago and Phil has long since forgotten the furore his unfortunate remarks caused.’
      • ‘The Tories have rushed to distance themselves from these rather unfortunate remarks.’
      regrettable, inappropriate, unsuitable, inapt, infelicitous, tactless, untoward, injudicious
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often unfortunates
  • 1A person who suffers bad fortune.

    • ‘The advance of militarism has produced a huge organisation of careerist officers and enlisted unfortunates, young people who see service as a way out of one or another poverty-stricken ghetto.’
    • ‘If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming, we may die even sooner, as did more than 20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer.’
    • ‘Allow me to explain Fayer's evil plan to you poor unfortunates who have to suffer through his company with me.’
    • ‘It is difficult to know whether to laugh at, or cry for, the unfortunates who shelled out up to $500 each for ringside seat at the ‘fight’ last Saturday night.’
    • ‘Some passes will be bounced into a colleague, denying him the opportunity to take a life-saving mark; other poor unfortunates will be given a fisted pass from too close, inviting another sickening hit.’
    • ‘According to the Government, these unfortunates should then be ‘free to move on to new ventures unencumbered by the stigma and restraints traditionally associated with bankruptcy’.’
    • ‘The zombies have already knocked down and wounded several people, who are pleading pitiably for help; and one of the player's duties is to protect those unfortunates from renewed assaults by the zombies.’
    • ‘India is not a welfare state in that the government provides little to its unfortunates, but it is a welfare society in which people constantly help each other out, provided they feel a connection that justifies their help.’
    • ‘To the unfortunates growing up in the Sudan and other similar places, I have nothing but compassion.’
    • ‘Spare a thought for everyone who suffered at the hands of the flood waters over the weekend - but especially those unfortunates who found their new homes completely destroyed.’
    • ‘If the United States is at war, it is a war being prosecuted by only a minority of its citizens - many of them little better off in material terms than the poor unfortunates left stranded in New Orleans.’
    • ‘By 1920, there remained only six of these unfortunates left unnamed, and the decision was taken to publish their photographs in national newspapers in the hope that some family member would come forward.’
    • ‘He's not talking about the ‘collateral damage’ that did for these unfortunates.’
    • ‘It's easy to think there are no limits to the depths to which TV execs will sink in order to boost those all-important ratings, ruthlessly exploiting unfortunates and sensationalising even the merest hint of scandal.’
    • ‘She said: ‘I was one of the unfortunates on Saturday and then despite my warnings, my sister went there on Sunday and the same thing happened to her.’’
    • ‘Well, apart from the torture victims, the murdered and other unfortunates who have had their civil liberties eroded, human rights curtailed and so on.’
    • ‘They have to live with the knowledge that these unfortunates would not be in the condition they are if other people, parents, publicans, drinks manufacturers, acted more responsibly.’
    • ‘Those unfortunates who don't make it will then play up to seven more events to determine who gets to play the tour in 2008 and who doesn't.’
    • ‘‘I'm sorry, you'll have to wait for the next one,’ said the conductor as he left these five unfortunates and their oversized contraptions behind.’
    • ‘Let us hope that it has the effect of penalising the habitually and criminally dangerous drivers and not unfortunates who are victims of circumstances.’
    1. 1.1archaic A person who is considered immoral or lacking in religious faith or instruction, especially a prostitute.