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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).


1. evil fortune; bad luck
2. an unfortunate or disastrous event; calamity


(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.



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
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


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"


2. An unexpected and usually undesirable event:
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!


[ˌmɪsˈfɔːrtʃuːn] nmalchance f, malheur m


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


[mɪsˈfɔːtʃn] ndisgrazia, sventura, sfortuna
she has the misfortune to be blind → ha la sventura di essere cieca
that's YOUR misfortune! → peggio per te!


(misˈfoːtʃən) noun
(a piece of) bad luck. I had the misfortune to break my leg.


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
References in classic literature ?
I don't know anything about them, thought Beth, and forgetting the boy's misfortune in her flurry, she said, hoping to make him talk, "I never saw any hunting, but I suppose you know all about it.
Misfortune seemed to settle like an evil bird on the roof of the log house, and to flap its wings there, warning human beings away.
The instant the shock of this sudden misfortune had abated, Duncan began to make his observations on the appearance and proceedings of their captors.
The speech was about public-spirited citizens who, to the neglect of their own interests, came to assist the ends of justice, and fellow-creatures in misfortune.
So much does friendship triumph over misfortune, that sorrows and sufferings vanish at the meeting not only of real friends, but of the most distant acquaintances, and substitutes happiness in their room.
How kind of you to give me an opportunity to make up for my misfortune when you last called
And supposing such to be the case, would it not be a far truer mode of expression to say of the Pyncheon family, that they inherited a great misfortune, than the reverse?
Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped.
There had been for the two children at first a young lady whom they had had the misfortune to lose.
I believe, had I stayed there very long, I should have become purblind, and that would have been a great misfortune, for I have heard men say that a stone-blind horse was safer to drive than one which had imperfect sight, as it generally makes them very timid.
It was a striking circumstance that Jonas, too, had gotten his job by the misfortune of some other person.
So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to a master,--so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner, may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil,--so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best regulated administration of slavery.