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From Middle English unhappy; equivalent to un- +‎ happy.


  • IPA(key): /ʌnˈhæpi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æpi


unhappy (comparative unhappier or more unhappy, superlative unhappiest or most unhappy)

  1. Not happy; sad.
  2. Not satisfied; unsatisfied.
    An unhappy customer is unlikely to return to your shop.
  3. (chiefly dated) Not lucky; unlucky.
    The doomed lovers must have been born under an unhappy star.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, volume 1, London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine and Co., page 56:
      The pointed shaft of the cart had entered the breast of the unhappy Prince like a sword, and from the wound his life's blood was spouting in a stream, and falling with a hiss into the road.
  4. (chiefly dated) Not suitable; unsuitable.





unhappy (plural unhappies)

  1. An individual who is not happy.
    • 1972, The New Yorker (volume 48, part 1, page 109)
      Leduc, as is true of many other unhappies, is largely a confessional writer: her subject is herself, and her gift is a driving, vivacious power that turns her incurable, inveterate unhappiness into a series of dramas []

Middle English[edit]



  1. unhap
    • 1470–1483 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “[Launcelot and Guinevere]”, in Le Morte Darthur (British Library Additional Manuscript 59678), [England: s.n.], folio 449, recto, lines 27–29:
      So thys ſeaſon hit be felle in the moneth : of may a grete angur and vnhappy that ſtynted nat tylle þͤ floure of chyvalry of the worlde was deſtroyed and ſlayne
      So in this season, as in the month of May, it befell a great anger and unhap that stinted not till the flower of chivalry of all the world was destroyed and slain;