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a. Bad fortune or ill luck.
b. The condition resulting from bad fortune or ill luck: wanted to help those in misfortune.
2. A distressing occurrence: "Misfortunes are too apt to wear out Friendship" (Charlotte Charke).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. evil fortune; bad luck
2. an unfortunate or disastrous event; calamity
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(mɪsˈfɔr tʃən)

1. adverse fortune; bad luck.
2. an instance of this.
syn: misfortune, adversity, affliction refer to an event or circumstance that is hard to bear and beyond one's control. misfortune is any adverse occurrence or situation involving bad luck: She had the misfortune to break her leg. adversity suggests one of a series of misfortunes: Job endured many adversities but kept his faith in God. affliction suggests a misfortune that causes great suffering: Blindness is a severe affliction.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



See Also: RICHES

  1. Adversity was spreading over him like mold —Irvin S. Cobb
  2. Bad moments, like good ones, tend to be grouped together —Edna O’Brien
  3. Blessed as the meek who shall inherit the earth —Anon

    This illustrates how a quote can be transposed into a simile.

  4. The day of fortune is like a harvest day, we must be busy when the corn is ripe —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  5. Disasters … rolling in the brain like pebbles —Denise Levertov
  6. Fortune is as … brittle as glass —Publilius Syrus
  7. Fortune is like glass: she breaks when she is brightest —Latin proverb
  8. Fortune is like the market, where if you will bide your time, the price will fall —German proverb

    A variation by Francis Bacon begins like the above and finishes as follows: “If you can stay a little, the price will fall.”

  9. Fortunes made in no time are like shirts made in no time; it’s ten to one if they hang long together —Douglas Jerrold
  10. Fortune sits on him like a ton of shit —Irving Feldman
  11. Good fortune, like ripe fruit, ought to be enjoyed while it is present —Epictetus
  12. Good fortune seemed to be following me like a huge affectionate dog —John Braine
  13. It’s a nightmare like trying to conquer the Himalayas on roller skates or swim the English Channel lashed to a cannon —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  14. Luck is like having a rice dumpling fly into your mouth —Japanese proverb
  15. A luckless man … the kind of man who would have gotten two complimentary tickets for the Titanic —William Mcllvanney

    The actual text in Scotch author Mcllvanney’s Papers of Tony Veitch reads: “The kinnaa man woulda got two complimentary tickets for the Titanic.”

  16. Luck shines in his face like good health —Anon
  17. Misfortunes disappeared, as though swept away by a great flood of sunlight —Emile Zola
  18. Misfortunes, like the owl, avoid the light —Charles Churchill
  19. Misfortunes … passed over her like wild geese —Ellen Glasgow
  20. Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle —James Russell Lowell
  21. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties —Captain Frederick Marryatt
  22. Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head —William Shakespeare
  23. Tried to conceal his misfortune as if it were a vice —Mihail Lermontov
  24. To wait for luck is like waiting for death —Japanese proverb
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.misfortune - unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate eventmisfortune - unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event
trouble - an event causing distress or pain; "what is the trouble?"; "heart trouble"
pity, shame - an unfortunate development; "it's a pity he couldn't do it"
misadventure, mischance, mishap - an instance of misfortune
calamity, catastrophe, tragedy, disaster, cataclysm - an event resulting in great loss and misfortune; "the whole city was affected by the irremediable calamity"; "the earthquake was a disaster"
adversity - a stroke of ill fortune; a calamitous event; "a period marked by adversities"
hardship - something that causes or entails suffering; "I cannot think it a hardship that more indulgence is allowed to men than to women"- James Boswell; "the many hardships of frontier life"
knock - a bad experience; "the school of hard knocks"
2.misfortune - an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomesmisfortune - an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes
circumstances, luck, destiny, fate, fortune, lot, portion - your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you); "whatever my fortune may be"; "deserved a better fate"; "has a happy lot"; "the luck of the Irish"; "a victim of circumstances"; "success that was her portion"
weakness - the condition of being financially weak; "the weakness of the dollar against the yen"
adversity, hard knocks, hardship - a state of misfortune or affliction; "debt-ridden farmers struggling with adversity"; "a life of hardship"
gutter, sewer, toilet - misfortune resulting in lost effort or money; "his career was in the gutter"; "all that work went down the sewer"; "pensions are in the toilet"
hard cheese - bad luck
good fortune, good luck, luckiness - an auspicious state resulting from favorable outcomes
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. (often plural) bad luck, adversity, hard luck, ill luck, infelicity, evil fortune She seemed to enjoy the misfortunes of others.
2. mishap, loss, trouble, trial, blow, failure, accident, disaster, reverse, tragedy, harm, misery, setback, hardship, calamity, affliction, tribulation, whammy (informal, chiefly U.S.), misadventure, bummer (slang), mischance, stroke of bad luck, evil chance He had had his full share of misfortunes.
relief, fortune, good luck
"In the misfortune of our best friends, we always find something which is not displeasing to us" [Duc de la Rochefoucauld Réflexions ou Maximes Morales]
"misfortune: the kind of fortune which never misses" [Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary]
"Misfortunes never come singly"
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


2. An unexpected and usually undesirable event:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
sự bất hạnh


[mɪsˈfɔːtʃən] Ndesgracia f
companion in misfortunecompañero/a m/f en la desgracia
I had the misfortune to meet himtuve la desgracia de conocerlo
it is his misfortune that he is lametiene la mala suerte de ser cojo
that's your misfortune!¡mala suerte!
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌmɪsˈfɔːrtʃuːn] nmalchance f, malheur m
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= ill fortune, affliction)(schweres) Schicksal or Los nt; (= bad luck)Pech nt no pl; (= unlucky incident)Missgeschick nt; companion in misfortuneLeidensgenosse m/-genossin f; it was my misfortune or I had the misfortune to …ich hatte das Pech, zu …; a victim of misfortuneein Unglücksrabe or Pechvogel m; misfortune seldom comes aloneein Unglück kommt selten allein (prov); financial misfortunesfinanzielle Fehlschläge pl
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[mɪsˈfɔːtʃn] ndisgrazia, sventura, sfortuna
she has the misfortune to be blind → ha la sventura di essere cieca
that's YOUR misfortune! → peggio per te!
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(misˈfoːtʃən) noun
(a piece of) bad luck. I had the misfortune to break my leg.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


سُوءُ الْـحَظِ smůla ulykke Pech κακοτυχία desgracia epäonni malchance nesreća sfortuna 不運 불운 tegenslag uhell nieszczęście desgraça неудача olycka ความโชคร้าย talihsizlik sự bất hạnh 不幸
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
I am still ignorant whether I am to interpret the 'family misfortunes' which have set up this barrier between us, as meaning the misfortune for which her parents alone are to blame, or the misfortune of her having such a woman as Mrs.
You, peaceful inhabitants of Moscow, artisans and workmen whom misfortune has driven from the city, and you scattered tillers of the soil, still kept out in the fields by groundless fear, listen!
A plot of this kind would, doubtless, satisfy the moral sense, but it would inspire neither pity nor fear; for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves.
And if your misfortune should prove to be one of those that refuse admission to any sort of consolation, it was my purpose to join you in lamenting and mourning over it, so far as I could; for it is still some comfort in misfortune to find one who can feel for it.
Then Clever Elsie began to weep and said: 'If I get Hans, and we have a child, and he grows big, and we send him into the cellar here to draw beer, then the pick-axe will fall on his head and kill him.' Then she sat and wept and screamed with all the strength of her body, over the misfortune which lay before her.
'Will this do, children?--or shall I say we are all very sorry for what has happened during the last thirty years, and my daughters wish they had never been born; but since they have had that misfortune, they will be thankful for any trifle their grandpapa will be kind enough to bestow?'
and yet you can treat the mention of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule."
Certainly it would have been a misfortune to France and my family if a misunderstanding had taken place between me and my minister.
To have informed you of this misfortune, which I knew would pain you so greatly, D'Artagnan, would have been, in your eyes, to have triumphed over you.
"Admitting that a certain quite irrational ridicule falls to the lot of these men, yet I never saw anything but a misfortune in it, and always felt sympathy for it," Alexey Alexandrovitch said to himself, though indeed this was not the fact, and he had never felt sympathy for misfortunes of that kind, but the more frequently he had heard of instances of unfaithful wives betraying their husbands, the more highly he had thought of himself.
The ship drew on and had safely passed the strait, which some volcanic shock has made between the Calasareigne and Jaros islands; had doubled Pomegue, and approached the harbor under topsails, jib, and spanker, but so slowly and sedately that the idlers, with that instinct which is the forerunner of evil, asked one another what misfortune could have happened on board.
He wished as much as possible to obliterate the memory of the scenes that had taken place in Ireland and never alluded to them or suffered me to speak of my misfortunes.