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[uhn-wit-ing] /ʌnˈwɪt ɪŋ/
inadvertent; unintentional; accidental:
His insult, though unwitting, pained her.
not knowing; unaware; ignorant; oblivious; unconscious:
an unwitting person.
before 900; Middle English; Old English unwittende; see un-1, wit2, -ing2
Related forms
unwittingly, adverb
unwittingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unwittingly
  • Witness rarely seen wild creatures, and discover how their unique behaviors unwittingly serve each others' survival.
  • Some players entered quarantine zones for a look-see and left, unwittingly taking the disease with them.
  • But deer are also thriving because of the ways people have carved up the countryside, unwittingly creating prime deer habitat.
  • They were unwittingly promulgating the net's first truly malicious chain letter.
  • Your fantasy does exist and is shared unwittingly until now by many of us fellows-without-fellowships.
  • Other contenders have eliminated themselves unwittingly.
  • His life seems to have no meaning, until he unwittingly stops a bank robbery.
  • By anthropomorphizing their products, robot designers may unwittingly be encouraging needless bloodshed.
  • unwittingly they help each other by having someone for whom to care.
  • Many of these tourists are unwittingly visiting a country with shocking crime statistics.
British Dictionary definitions for unwittingly


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 unwittingly



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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