from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Inappropriate; ill-chosen: an infelicitous remark.
  • adj. Not happy; unfortunate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unhappy or unfortunate.
  • adj. Inappropriate or awkward; not well said, expressed, or done.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not felicitous; unhappy; unfortunate; not fortunate or appropriate in application; not well said, expressed, or done

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not felicitous, happy, or fortunate; unhappy: as, an infelicitous marriage.
  • Unskilful; inapt; inappropriate; ill-timed: as, an infelicitous expression.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by or producing unhappiness
  • adj. not appropriate in application; defective


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From in- +‎ felicitous.


  • But when the point of an interview is to convey information and ideas clearly, the motive to catch a subject saying something infelicitous appears bizarre.

    Sam Harris: The Perils of the Print Interview

  • It's a sad statement about where public discourse is that, in response to this particularly infelicitous choice of phrase, the defense that is used is, "She has no real idea what any of the words mean."

    Is Miss America to blame for Sarah Palin's 'blood libel' video?

  • Not only does this scene and violence occur at the dinner table, but the line of aggression that begins this infelicitous breach of dinner conduct is "I'll eat you alive, girl!"

    Bess Rowen: Putting the Eat in Theatre

  • We were surprised today to learn that Mayor Bloomberg dismissed his hand-picked Schools Chancellor, Cathie Black, after 97 infelicitous days as chief of New York City's school system.

    Henry J. Stern: Black Thursday

  • Hoping to make up for his infelicitous soup comment, Stan chimes in with his own compliments.

    The Search

  • Even if the problem is short-lived, and even if the word seems infelicitous, the innovation is an attempt to communicate in a more crisp, potent or evocative style.

    Author, author: Henry Hitchings on neologisms

  • Holbo thinks that this simplistic view is especially infelicitous in describing our reading of novels, which do not provoke these kinds of "imaginings" in the same way that other, more explict games of make-believe do.

    Philosophy and Literature

  • This week, while narrow-minded nitwits gnash their teeth over the latest book they perceive as an affront to their distorted views, the rest of us are all too happy to share our thoughts on how infelicitous and ineffective they are in trying to keep all of us from reading said books.

    Wag the Blog #9: BYOB (Burn Your Own Book)

  • Despite this infelicitous circumstance, elections were nevertheless held in November.

    Restoring International Relations With Honduras: A Way Forward

  • This infelicitous refusal to engage the Allied statement, picked up and amplified by newspapers on both sides, was taken as a rejection by the Americans, and at this point Truman gave the final go-ahead for dropping the bomb.18

    How Wars end


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  • adj.

    1. inappropriate, unfortunate; e.g. infelicitous word or infelicitous phrase.

    2. marked by or producing unhappiness. e.g. infelicitous circumstances.

    December 30, 2008