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[uhn-uh-wairz] /ˌʌn əˈwɛərz/
while not aware or conscious of a thing oneself; unknowingly or inadvertently.
without warning; by surprise; suddenly; unexpectedly:
to come upon someone unawares.
Origin of unawares
1525-35; unaware + -s1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unawares
Historical Examples
  • I already saw that they would stand no fair chance for victory, taken completely at unawares.

    Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army William G. Stevenson
  • Do it quietly, take them unawares, and the risk will be nothing.

  • Meanwhile old age had come upon him unawares, but with it the rich fruition of lifelong study and reflection.

  • Taken forcibly and unawares, Sparwick toppled over on his side.

    The Camp in the Snow William Murray Graydon
  • It was then that again and again we tried to deceive him about the limits of his Quarter, and get him into another one unawares.

    Miscellanea Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • But if he had hoped to catch her unawares, he was disappointed.

    Shoe-Bar Stratton Joseph Bushnell Ames
  • We marched loosely and blindly, and they came on us unawares.

    The Path of the King John Buchan
  • No, indeed; it was but an old bad habit, and escaped me unawares.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • The Mexican brigand hoped to take the "cow boys" unawares—surprise them—kill them, and drive away their herds.

  • This escaped me unawares, and I instantly prevaricated, "I have been told about that."

    The Crack of Doom Robert Cromie
British Dictionary definitions for unawares


without prior warning or plan; unexpectedly: she caught him unawares
without being aware of or knowing: he lost it unawares
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 unawares

1530s, "without being aware," from un- (1) "not" + aware + adverbial genitive -s. Meaning "without being noticed" is recorded from 1660s. Form unaware is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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