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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 unhappy
  • It came from teaching students who, in the course of working through a particular project, were unhappy with how it was evolving.
  • Their eyes do not meet, and their stiff bodies maintain an unhappy distance.
  • Nearly everyone's unhappy with the delta as it is today.
  • It used to happen when he got excited or was unhappy.
  • The humours of the shop and the pilgrimage are almost, if not quite, independent of the unhappy ending.
  • His repeated perfidies to the princes of the empire and others rendered him odious and despicable, and his reign unhappy.
  • In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.
  • If you rabidly focus on work, in the long run, you'll be unhappy.
  • And clones might be treated as inferiors, rendering them unhappy.
  • But they are so unhappy with the work that they refuse to pay for it.
British Dictionary definitions for unhappy


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 unhappy

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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