Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 24, 2019 is:
hapless • \HAP-lus\ • adjective
: having no luck : unfortunate
“Whatever your view of Team USA’s rout over Thailand or the way they celebrated every goal over that hapless opponent, the 13-0 opening victory fueled conversation and interest for Sunday’s United States-Chile match.” — Phil Rosenthal, The Chicago Tribune, 18 June 2019
“David Bareford got into violence design when he was living in Chicago and struggling along as ‘an OK actor in a town where there were a million OK actors….’ He decided not to fight those odds; instead he embraced the stage-combat skills that came from acting in Shakespeare tragedies, which usually involve kings, soldiers and other hapless figures eagerly running one another through.” — Scott Hewitt, The Columbian (Vancouver, Washington), 13 June 2019
Did you know?
Hapless literally means what you’d expect it to mean: “without hap”—hap being another word for fortune or luck. Hap derives from the Old Norse word for “good luck,” a word that is also the source of our happen and happy. English has several words to describe those lacking good fortune, including ill-starred, ill-fated, unlucky, and luckless, a word formed in parallel to hapless by adding the suffix -less. Ill-starred suggests bringing calamity or the threat of a terrible fate (“the ill-starred year the Great Depression began”). Ill-fated refers only to being doomed (“the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic”). Unlucky and luckless usually apply to a person or thing notably or chronically unfortunate (“an unlucky slots player,” “some luckless investors swindled in the deal”).
July 24, 2019 at 01:00PM