Something unfortunate is something that you wished had not happened — like that unfortunate incident that got you suspended from school. Let's not bring that up.

Unfortunate can also describe unlucky circumstances. A natural disaster like an earthquake or a tornado will always have unfortunate consequences. You can even use unfortunate as a noun to identify someone or something not favored by fortune — like the unfortunates whose lives were shattered by the earthquake.

Definitions of unfortunate

adj not favored by fortune; marked or accompanied by or resulting in ill fortune

“an unfortunate turn of events”
“an unfortunate decision”
unfortunate investments”
“an unfortunate night for all concerned”
most unfortunate or miserable
black, calamitous, disastrous, fatal, fateful
(of events) having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin
dispossessed, homeless, roofless
physically or spiritually homeless or deprived of security
hapless, miserable, misfortunate, pathetic, piteous, pitiable, pitiful, poor, wretched
deserving or inciting pity
doomed, ill-fated, ill-omened, ill-starred, unlucky
marked by or promising bad fortune
abused or oppressed by people in power
infelicitous, unhappy
marked by or producing unhappiness
regrettable, too bad
deserving regret
luckless, unlucky
having or bringing misfortune
lacking the rights and advantages of other members of society
not successful; having failed or having an unfavorable outcome
having unexpected good fortune
better off
in a more fortunate or prosperous condition
felicitous, happy
marked by good fortune
occurring by happy chance
good, well
resulting favorably
heaven-sent, miraculous, providential
peculiarly fortunate or appropriate; as if by divine intervention
occurring by chance
fortunately situated
having or bringing good fortune
blessed with privileges
having succeeded or being marked by a favorable outcome
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adj not auspicious; boding ill

unlikely to bring about favorable results or enjoyment
auguring favorable circumstances and good luck
bright, hopeful, promising
full or promise
fortunate, rosy
presaging good fortune
presenting favorable circumstances; likely to result in or show signs of success
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adj unsuitable or regrettable

“an unfortunate choice of words”
“an unfortunate speech”
not appropriate in application; defective

n a person who suffers misfortune

unfortunate person
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the diseased beggar in Jesus' parable of the rich man and the beggar
Saint Thomas a Becket
(Roman Catholic Church) archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170; murdered following his opposition to Henry II's attempts to control the clergy (1118-1170)
Saint George
Christian martyr; patron saint of England; hero of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon in which he slew a dragon and saved a princess (?-303)
Jeanne d'Arc
French heroine and military leader inspired by religious visions to organize French resistance to the English and to have Charles VII crowned king; she was later tried for heresy and burned at the stake (1412-1431)
Saint Lawrence
Roman martyr; supposedly Lawrence was ordered by the police to give up the church's treasure and when he responded by presenting the poor people of Rome he was roasted to death on a gridiron (died in 258)
William Tindale
English translator and Protestant martyr; his translation of the Bible into English (which later formed the basis for the King James Version) aroused ecclesiastical opposition; he left England in 1524 and was burned at the stake in Antwerp as a heretic (1494-1536)
St. Vitus
Christian martyr and patron of those who suffer from epilepsy and Sydenham's chorea (died around 300)
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abandoned person
someone for whom hope has been abandoned
someone who has had a limb removed by amputation
an unfortunate person who is unable to perform effectively because of nervous tension or agitation
a person who is frightened and in need of help
homeless, homeless person
someone unfortunate without housing
any long-suffering person who withstands affliction without despairing
jinx, jonah
a person believed to bring bad luck to those around him
a person who languishes
failure, loser, nonstarter, unsuccessful person
a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently
a person who is stranded (as on an island)
griever, lamenter, mourner, sorrower
a person who is feeling grief (as grieving over someone who has died)
a person seized by nympholepsy
Ishmael, castaway, outcast, pariah
a person who is rejected (from society or home)
have-not, poor person
a person with few or no possessions
captive, prisoner
a person who is confined; especially a prisoner of war
schlimazel, shlimazel
(Yiddish) a very unlucky or inept person who fails at everything
diseased person, sick person, sufferer
a person suffering from an illness
subsister, survivor
one who lives through affliction
an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance
crier, weeper
a person who weeps
poor white trash, white trash
(slang) an offensive term for White people who are impoverished
anorectic, anorexic
a person suffering from anorexia nervosa
bag lady
a homeless woman who carries all her possessions with her in shopping bags
a person suffering from bulimia
bankrupt, insolvent
someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts
a loud weeper
someone who sniffles and weeps with loud sobs
castaway, shipwreck survivor
a shipwrecked person
casualty, injured party
someone injured or killed in an accident
someone injured or killed or captured or missing in a military engagement
consumptive, lunger, tubercular
a person with pulmonary tuberculosis
a person who is recovering from illness
con, convict, inmate, yard bird, yardbird
a person serving a sentence in a jail or prison
someone suffering psychological depression
detainee, political detainee
some held in custody
someone who has diabetes
a person who is destitute
a person suffering from indigestion
a person who has epilepsy
flash in the pan
someone who enjoys transient success but then fails
dud, flop, washout
someone who is unsuccessful
goner, toast
a person in desperate straits; someone doomed
bleeder, haemophile, haemophiliac, hemophile, hemophiliac
someone who has hemophilia and is subject to uncontrollable bleeding
heretic, misbeliever, religious outcast
a person who holds religious beliefs in conflict with the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church
hostage, surety
a prisoner who is held by one party to insure that another party will meet specified terms
hunted person
a person who is hunted
a person whose disease is incurable
insomniac, sleepless person
someone who cannot sleep
a person who is interned
invalid, shut-in
someone who is incapacitated by a chronic illness or injury
a pariah who is avoided by others
lazar, leper
a person afflicted with leprosy
one at a disadvantage and expected to lose
lunatic, madman, maniac
an insane person
a person afflicted with manic-depressive illness
martyr, sufferer
one who suffers for the sake of principle
one who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty for refusing to renounce their religion
a person suffering from monomania
a victim of a mugging
a victim who is murdered
a person who has narcolepsy
a person suffering a nervous breakdown
mental case, neurotic, psychoneurotic
a person suffering from neurosis
bearer, pallbearer
one of the mourners carrying the coffin at a funeral
a person who requires medical care
a person who is very poor
political prisoner
someone who is imprisoned because of their political views
poor devil, wretch
someone you feel sorry for
fair game, prey, quarry, target
a person who is the aim of an attack (especially a victim of ridicule or exploitation) by some hostile person or influence
POW, prisoner of war
a person who surrenders to (or is taken by) the enemy in time of war
psycho, psychotic, psychotic person
a person afflicted with psychosis
punching bag
a person on whom another person vents their anger
a person suffering with rheumatism
scapegoat, whipping boy
someone who is punished for the errors of others
a person suffering from syphilis
Harijan, untouchable
belongs to lowest social and ritual class in India
drifter, floater, vagabond, vagrant
a wanderer who has no established residence or visible means of support
weak or sickly person especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health
spewer, vomiter
a person who vomits
a mourner who utters long loud high-pitched cries
a hired mourner
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

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