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From Middle English unkind; equivalent to un- +‎ kind.


  • IPA(key): /ʌnˈkaɪnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪnd


unkind (comparative unkinder or more unkind, superlative unkindest or most unkind)

  1. Lacking kindness, sympathy, benevolence, gratitude, or similar; cruel, harsh or unjust; ungrateful. [from mid-14th c.]
    • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
      This was the most unkindest cut of all;
      For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
      Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
      Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
    • 1715–1720, Homer, [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book 24”, in The Iliad of Homer, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, page 189, lines 968-971:
      Yet was it ne’er my Fate, from thee to find
      A Deed ungentle, or a Word unkind:
      When others curst the Auth’ress of their Woe,
      Thy Pity check’d my Sorrows in their Flow:
    • 1814 July, [Jane Austen], chapter II, in Mansfield Park: [], volume I, London: [] T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, page 24:
      Nobody meant to be unkind, but nobody put themselves out of their way to secure her comfort.
    • 1950 July 3, “Politicians Without Politics”, in Life, page 16:
      Despite the bursitis, Dewey got in a good round of golf, though his cautious game inspired a reporter to make one of the week′s unkindest remarks: “He plays golf like he plays politics — straight down the middle, and short.”
    • 1974, Laurence William Wylie, Village in the Vaucluse, 3rd edition, page 175:
      We had to learn that to refuse such gifts, which represented serious sacrifice, was more unkind than to accept them.
    • 2000, Edward W. Said, “On Lost Causes”, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, page 540:
      In the strictness with which he holds this view he belongs in the company of the novelists I have cited, except that he is unkinder and less charitable than they are.
  2. (obsolete) Not kind; contrary to nature or type; unnatural. [from 13th c.]
    • 1582, Stephen Batman, transl., Batman vppon Bartholome His Booke De Proprietatibus Rerum[1], London, Book 7, Chapter 33:
      [] A Feauer is an vnkinde heate, that commeth out of the heart, and passeth into all the members of the bodye, and grieueth the working of the bodye.
    • 1617, John Davies, Wits Bedlam[2], London, Epigram 116:
      Crowes will not feed their yong til 9. daies old,
      Because their vnkind colour makes them doubt
      Them to be theirs;
  3. (obsolete) Having no race or kindred; childless.

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