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From Middle English unfair (unattractive, unseemly), from Old English unfæġer (ugly), equivalent to un- +‎ fair.



unfair (comparative unfairer, superlative unfairest)

  1. not fair, unjust
    Antonyms: fair, just
    It was unfair for the boss to give larger bonuses to his friends.
    • 2012 March-April, John T. Jost, “Social Justice: Is It in Our Nature (and Our Future)?”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, archived from the original on 21 June 2017, page 162:
      He draws eclectically on studies of baboons, descriptive anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies and, in a few cases, the fossil record. With this biological framework in place, Corning endeavors to show that the capitalist system as currently practiced in the United States and elsewhere is manifestly unfair.
    • 2022 January 12, “Network News: Further extension to Transport for London emergency funding”, in RAIL, number 948, page 8:
      Khan countered this by alleging that 'unfair' conditions, such as raising council tax, are being attached to any new funding deal that would "punish Londoners" for the effect the pandemic has had on passenger numbers. He added: "These short-term deals are trapping TfL on life support rather than putting it on the path to long-term sustainability."
  2. (rare or archaic) not beautiful; uncomely; unattractive
  3. (archaic or obsolete) sorrowful; sad
  4. (archaic) unseemly; disgraceful

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


unfair (third-person singular simple present unfairs, present participle unfairing, simple past and past participle unfaired)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) to make ugly
    Synonym: devenustate




From un- +‎ fair.


  • IPA(key): /ˈʊnˌfɛːr/, [ˈʔʊn-], [ˈʔʊɱ-], [-ˌfɛːɐ̯], [-ˌfeːɐ̯], [-ˌfɛɐ̯]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: un‧fair


unfair (strong nominative masculine singular unfairer, comparative unfairer, superlative am unfairsten)

  1. unfair
    Synonyms: unlauter, ungerecht
    Antonym: fair


Further reading[edit]

  • unfair” in Duden online
  • unfair” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache