• WordNet 3.6
    • adj hapless deserving or inciting pity "a hapless victim","miserable victims of war","the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy","piteous appeals for help","pitiable homeless children","a pitiful fate","Oh, you poor thing","his poor distorted limbs","a wretched life"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Hapless hăp"lĕs Without hap or luck; luckless; unfortunate; unlucky; unhappy; as, hapless youth; hapless maid.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • hapless Without hap or luck; luckless; unfortunate; unlucky; unhappy.
    • hapless Synonyms Ill-starred, ill-fated, forlorn.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Hapless unlucky: unhappy
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Ice. happ, good luck.


In literature:

How hapless was the fate of the poor Dyak!
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 110, December, 1866" by Various
Magistrates are everywhere impressed with the hopelessness of a mere judicial treatment of these hapless children.
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 427" by Various
I have simply told you the story of a hapless girl, whom you once knew.
"The Queen's Cup" by G. A. Henty
On which the hapless pair departed sorrowfully.
"My Life as an Author" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
That represented the female genet coming down, fixed to the throat of a hapless fowl.
"The Way of the Wild" by F. St. Mars
When night shut down the latter became bolder, and taunted cruelly those destined to become so soon their hapless victims.
"Bob Hampton of Placer" by Randall Parrish
Thrusting the sacks aside, the troopers seized and dragged forth their hapless fellow-creatures.
"Foes in Ambush" by Charles King
If one must be sacrificed which would she spare, De Noyan or his hapless wife?
"Prisoners of Chance" by Randall Parrish
It was M'Pherson, the hapless father of the unfortunate youths by whom she was manned.
"The Haunters & The Haunted" by Various
The punishment cannot be escaped; it is not suspended for illness until collapse comes to the relief of the hapless wretch.
"Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons" by Henry Charles Mahoney

In poetry:

A stranger, wandering through the wood,
Beheld the hapless pair;
Long did he look in silence sad,
Then shriek'd as in despair.
"A Tale" by John Logan
Ah, weak and hapless human hearts,
By cruel Mother Venus fated
To spend this life in hopeless strife,
Because incongruously mated!
"To Albius Tibullus" by Eugene Field
To suffer misery and scorn,
I, hapless wretch! methinks, was born;
My heart is overwhelm'd with pain,
Still in my sight my woes remain.
"Psalm XXXVIII." by Rees Prichard
So strong the power of pride and shame,
Her frailty she will still deny;
Rather than own herself to blame,
She lets the hapless Lover die.
"The Culprit" by Nathaniel Bloomfield
Torn hapless thus from all he lov'd,
The wretched wand'rer left his home,
From isle to isle incessant rov'd ;--
His only wish to idly roam!
"The Harp. A Legendary Tale. In Two Parts" by Hector MacNeill
POLONIA. Oh, stay,
Wandering from the path astray,
Hapless crowd, rash, indiscreet,
Turn away your erring feet,
For misfortune lies that way.
"The Purgatory Of St. Patrick - Act II" by Denis Florence MacCarthy

In news:

As AEI's Danielle Pletka explains, "The talks were a victory for Iran, and a humiliation for the Obama administration, and its hapless "please meet with me" delegation.
It's tough to imagine any NBA team being as bad as the hapless Detroit Pistons were in one 10-minute stretch Wednesday night.
Mike D'Antoni returns to New York with hapless Lakers.
Hapless SEC, Murdoch's Mega-Losses, BofA Repo 105.
Third-ranked 'Dogs maul hapless Jackets.
RG3 has career day in win vs hapless Eagles.
Steelers edge hapless Chiefs 16-13 but lose QB Ben Roethlisberger to shoulder injury.
5 Georgia guns for division title in visit to hapless Auburn in near-reversal from 2010.
Chargers reach 4-4 by beating hapless Chiefs, still haven't beaten team with winning record.
Georgia Tech routs hapless Boston College 37-17.
Tech routs a hapless BC 37-17.
Hapless Chiefs stagger into bye week with fans jumping ship and demanding changes.
How America's Hapless Taxpayers Are Funding China's Growth.
Mets hope for rebound against hapless Astros.
Astros 2, Padres 0: Happ, bullpen shut down hapless Padres.