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[uhn-fair] /ʌnˈfɛər/
not fair; not conforming to approved standards, as of justice, honesty, or ethics:
an unfair law; an unfair wage policy.
disproportionate; undue; beyond what is proper or fitting:
an unfair share.
Origin of unfair
before 900; 1705-15 for def 1; Middle English: uncomely, ugly; Old English unfæger; cognate with Old Norse ūfagr. See un-1, fair1
Related forms
unfairly, adverb
unfairness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unfair
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is a wide-spread belief in England that unfair favor is shown to gentlemen convicts.

    Greater Britain Charles Wentworth Dilke
  • "Every single thing that you have done that was unfair to me all my life," said Linda.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • It is a real puzzle, based upon an original contrivance which it would be unfair to reveal.

  • Wouldn't it be unfair to Rose to be so generous to his wife?

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • If that is unfair to Hegel, it is a fair revelation of the mind of James.

    The Critical Game John Albert Macy
British Dictionary definitions for unfair


characterized by inequality or injustice
dishonest or unethical
Derived Forms
unfairly, adverb
unfairness, noun
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 unfair

Old English unfægr "unlovely," from un- (1) "not" + fair. Cf. Old Norse ufagr, Gothic unfagrs. Meaning "wicked, evil, bad" is recorded from c.1300. Sense of "not equitable, unjust" is first recorded 1713. Related: Unfairly; unfairness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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