Definitions

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

  • adj. Not knowing; unaware: an unwitting subject in an experiment.
  • adj. Not intended; unintentional: an unwitting admission of guilt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. unaware or uninformed
  • adj. unintentional

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not knowing; unconscious; ignorant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Ignorance.
  • Not knowing; ignorant.

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

  • adj. not aware or knowing
  • adj. unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge
  • adj. not done with purpose or intent

Etymologies

Middle English : un-, not; see un-1 + witting, present participle of witten, to know (from Old English witan; see weid- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English unwitende (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I explained to Edna that without the benefit of her explanation a person at home would understand the ad to mean that all storage was half off and accused Sears of deliberately making the ad ambiguous to draw in unwitting customers.

    Sears Kicks Off Holiday Weekend With False Advertising - The Consumerist

  • For nearly nineteen years now, my Angel has had allies: My husband and children are in unwitting cahoots with her.

    Tuesday before "Law & Order"

  • Illustrating Ortega's remark, we call unwitting or in - nocent Platonists all those — from German romanticism to recent popular poetry — who speak of “soul brother or sister,” “the fusion of souls” in “the ecstasy of love” in which lovers believe they are “joined as One,” and those who describe themselves as being loved by their

    LOVE

  • Itylus, whom on a time she slew with the sword unwitting,

    The Odyssey

  • It is unclear how many federal cases involve so-called unwitting couriers.

    Homepage CP Container

  • Causing mayhem on the unwitting is a staple of video games -- just witness the

    Fast Company

  • Even as when the daughter of Pandareus, the nightingale of the greenwood, sings sweet in the first season of the spring, from her place in the thick leafage of the trees, and with many a turn and trill she pours forth her full-voiced music bewailing her child, dear Itylus, whom on a time she slew with the sword unwitting, Itylus the son of Zethus the prince; even as her song, my troubled soul sways to and fro.

    Book XIX

  • Drake exchanged hundreds of e-mails with the reporter using a secure mail service, passed along information he received from "unwitting" NSA employees and used his access to classified computer networks to obtain information for the reporter, the indictment states.

    Spy agency worker accused of leaking documents to reporter

  • It's when we assume that what seems to be true for most of our students is true for all of our students that we do this kind of unwitting damage.

    Here's a cheerful thought

  • Like so many others, he was an "unwitting" addict.

    Mail Call

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