9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uhn-wit-ing] /ʌnˈwɪt ɪŋ/
inadvertent; unintentional; accidental:
His insult, though unwitting, pained her.
not knowing; unaware; ignorant; oblivious; unconscious:
an unwitting person.
Origin of unwitting
before 900; Middle English; Old English unwittende; see un-1, wit2, -ing2
Related forms
unwittingly, adverb
unwittingness, noun


[uhn-wit] /ʌnˈwɪt/
verb (used with object), unwitted, unwitting.
Obsolete. to render devoid of wit; derange.
1595-1605; un-2 + wit1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unwitting
  • The body louse, a plague to humans and our ancestors for millions of years, subsists exclusively on our unwitting hospitality.
  • But they note that social-networking sites have been used by cyber-bullies and online predators to target unwitting users.
  • When heavy winds coincide with especially high tides, it becomes liquid chaos and disaster for the unwitting seafarer.
  • It seems to be almost unintentional, perhaps unwitting.
  • And there's another hump: training legions of unwitting employees how to accept the thing.
  • Your unwitting recipient can only imagine the contents of the box, unless he or she gets naughty and figures out how to open it.
  • The movie even implies that his decision to testify may make him an unwitting tool of the system.
  • More, unwitting and untrained, lines up with these athletic wizards to go through the testing routines.
  • Even worse, the fact that they held her to a higher standard was unwitting.
  • The flaws in this system soon became tragically apparent, ruining many unwitting investors.
British Dictionary definitions for unwitting


adjective (usually prenominal)
not knowing or conscious
not intentional; inadvertent
Derived Forms
unwittingly, adverb
unwittingness, noun
Word Origin
Old English unwitende, from un-1 + witting, present participle of witan to know; related to Old High German wizzan to know, Old Norse vita
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
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Word Origin and History for unwitting

Old English unwitende, from un- (1) "not" + witting. Cf. Old High German unwizzanti, German unwissend, Old Norse uvitandi, Gothic unwitands. Rare after c.1600; revived c.1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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