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[uhn-hap-ee] /ʌnˈhæp i/
adjective, unhappier, unhappiest.
sad; miserable; wretched:
Why is she so unhappy?
unfortunate; unlucky:
an unhappy incident.
unfavorable; inauspicious:
an unhappy omen.
infelicitous; unsuitable:
an unhappy choice of words.
Archaic. causing trouble; reprehensible; troublesome.
Origin of unhappy
1250-1300; Middle English: causing misfortune, objectionable; see un-1, happy
Related forms
unhappily, adverb
unhappiness, noun
1. sorrowful, downcast, cheerless, distressed. 2. hapless. 3. unpropitious. 4. inappropriate, inapt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unhappiness
  • The effect of unhappiness on your body is about as bad for you as a smoking habit.
  • They clearly recognized his persuasiveness and power of his ideas and their capacity to produce unhappiness.
  • Rather than listen to my concerns and identify with my unhappiness, adults labeled me as disturbed and sick.
  • Such signs point to a department with serious internal issues and, worse, chomping to inflict their unhappiness on a newcomer.
  • Equality for some meant inequality for others, and freedom for some brought oppression and unhappiness for many.
  • Those contracts as now expiring, and clearly there is some unhappiness among those who fear their contract will not be renewed.
  • Her unhappiness was shared by users across several continents.
  • The idea that unhappiness leads to bad consequences is not a new one.
  • The result of conflicting goals, the authors argue, is unhappiness instead of action.
  • But there is nothing to protect our kids from the huge conglomerates that make money off their unhappiness with themselves.
British Dictionary definitions for unhappiness


adjective -pier, -piest
not joyful; sad or depressed
unfortunate or wretched: an unhappy fellow
tactless or inappropriate: an unhappy remark
(archaic) unfavourable
Derived Forms
unhappily, adverb
unhappiness, 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 unhappiness



c.1300, "causing misfortune or trouble (to oneself or others)," from un- (1) "not" + happy. Meaning "unfortunate, unlucky" is recorded from late 14c.; sense of "miserable, wretched" is recorded from late 14c. (originally via misfortune or mishap).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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