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- Very unlucky; ill-fated.
- 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Affair at the Novelty Theatre:
- Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophises all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.
- 1914, John Galsworthy, The Mob, act 1:
- My dear friend, are you to become that hapless kind of outcast, a champion of lost causes?
- 2008, Harriet Barovick, "Detroit The Lost Season," Time, 31 Dec.:
- The hapless squad, which was outscored 517-268 in 2008, became the first in league history to go 0-16.
- Devoid of talent or skill.
- 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits :”, in The Onion AV Club:
- Gideon Defoe scripted from his own series-launching comedic book The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, about the adventures of a hapless group of pirates known only by names like The Pirate With The Scarf, The Pirate With Gout, and in the case of their leader, The Pirate Captain.
- For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:hapless.
very unlucky; ill-fated