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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
be born lucky/unlucky etc (=always be lucky, unlucky etc)
▪ Barnes was desperately unlucky after a magnificent one-two with McManaman to see his volley come back off the foot of the post.
▪ I am a very unlucky woman who has been thrown to the wolves.
▪ I thought Brian Robinson was very unlucky and the same applies to Denis McBride.
▪ Then, by a very unlucky chance, we were seen and chased by two pirate ships.
▪ On that score, the Melrose forward can count himself very unlucky.
be born under a lucky/unlucky star
▪ "Were you disappointed with the team's performance?" "No, not really, I think we were just unlucky."
▪ Chicago was unlucky to lose in the final minute of the game.
▪ He seems to be very unlucky with cars - every time he buys one it always has something wrong with it.
▪ I've never had a girlfriend more than a couple of months - I guess I'm just unlucky in love.
▪ I don't believe anyone is born lucky or unlucky - life is what you make it.
▪ I never kill spiders - it's unlucky.
▪ It was unlucky for Steve that the teacher walked in just at that moment.
▪ Some people think it's unlucky to walk under ladders.
▪ Some people think that black cats are unlucky.
▪ The car in front braked suddenly and I went straight into it - it was just unlucky.
▪ The victims were simply unlucky enough to have been in the restaurant when the gunmen started shooting.
▪ We were unlucky with the weather. It rained almost every day we were on the island.
▪ Why do you want to get married on the 13th. Thirteen is such an unlucky number.
▪ Bruce Edgar adjudged him unlucky, but his record was modest: 17 wickets at 52.11 and 248 runs at 15.50.
▪ Bury's Derek Ward was the unlucky man.
▪ People tie it in with the fact that Jack Nicklaus was unlucky not to win.
▪ Red is lucky to card players and red cars are also lucky, while red flowers and red hair are unlucky.
▪ That one was dismissed as an unlucky incident, but my troubles continued.
▪ The unlucky federal judge in whose court the suit is brought is faced with a number of equally unpalatable choices.
▪ Unless they are unlucky, it will not touch even the fringe of their lives.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Unlucky \Un*luck"y\, a.

  1. Not lucky; not successful; unfortunate; ill-fated; unhappy; as, an unlucky man; an unlucky adventure; an unlucky throw of dice; an unlucky game.

    Note: This word is properly applied to incidents in which failure results from chance or fortuity, as in games of hazard, rather than from lack or feebleness of effort.

  2. Bringing bad luck; ill-omened; inauspicious.

    Haunt me not with that unlucky face.

  3. Mischievous; as, an unlucky wag. [Colloq.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1520s, "marked by misfortune or failure," from un- (1) "not" + lucky (adj.). Similar formation in West Frisian unlokkich, Mliddle Low German unluckich. Sense of "boding ill" is recorded from 1540s; that of "having bad luck" is from 1550s; that of "bringing bad luck" is from 1580s. Related: Unluckily; unluckiness.


a. 1 unfortunate, marked by misfortune 2 inauspicious 3 having ill luck 4 bringing ill luck

  1. adj. having or bringing misfortune; "Friday the 13th is an unlucky date" [syn: luckless] [ant: lucky]

  2. marked by or promising bad fortune; "their business venture was doomed from the start"; "an ill-fated business venture"; "an ill-starred romance"; "the unlucky prisoner was again put in irons"- W.H.Prescott [syn: doomed, ill-fated, ill-omened, ill-starred]

Usage examples of "unlucky".

His Majesty had yielded to prudent advice, and on arriving at Mons sent the unlucky Minister as his ambassador to Naples.

Perry launched into a flow of the technicalities used in ordnance and ballistics, and described with sweeps of his hands what would happen to a shell unlucky enough to be constrained by an inversed-cube type acceleration.

Although, as a general case, a ship unlucky in falling in with whales continues to cruise after them until she has barely sufficient provisions remaining to take her home, turning round then quietly and making the best of her way to her friends, yet there are instances when even this natural obstacle to the further prosecution of the voyage is overcome by headstrong captains, who, bartering the fruits of their hard-earned toils for a new supply of provisions in some of the ports of Chili or Peru, begin the voyage afresh with unabated zeal and perseverance.

Lieutenant Merriman and his unit were moved on to the planet Hardknott, where the unlucky Private Benger swarmed up a tree to escape from a pack of armourdillos and was promptly devoured by the tree itself.

The unlucky promised symphony has haunted my imagination ever since it was bespoken, and it is only, alas!

When the next Master of Sinanju was well on his way to Masterhood, Bamboo-hatted Kim burned his unlucky hat-although nothing could consume his poor reputation.

You have been unlucky in the ortolans, just as I was foiled by the gray partridges, because I lost them to the goshawk falcon.

She understood what the word outcaste meant as it applied to her own race: it meant you were either in jail, were about to be or were incredibly unlucky with lawyers.

He was, however, obliged to own to himself that it was quite true that Marie Perier had really been promised to a man whom an unlucky affair had driven into exile, and whom he had supposed to be dead.

Aunt Hatt took charge of him with a brisk efficiency that was tremendously comforting, and Guffy left him in her care when with Eager-Wright and young Hal they set out to search the house for Amanda and those unlucky watchdogs, Lugg and Scatty Williams.

Gothick, and by the time an unlucky fall at a regular stitcher, when out with the Old Club, put a period to his career, nowhere in England could have been found such massive doors of oak, such ponderous iron latches, so many pointed, narrow windows, as at Stanyon.

Champollion, to decipher illegible franks, and deliver with a slight remark, which is intended as a friendly admonition, the documents of the unlucky wight who encourages unprivileged correspondents.

But while the captain was one day busied in deep contemplations of this kind, one of the most unlucky as well as unseasonable accidents happened to him.

It is unlucky to dream of a minister, but it is not an evil sign for one to suppose he is worshipping in church.

Though men like young Cicero and Antistius Vetus urged Brutus to execute this least talented and unluckiest of the three Antonian brothers, Brutus refused.