Meaning of “unfair” in the English Dictionary

"unfair" in British English

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uk /ʌnˈfeər/ us /ʌnˈfer/

B1 not treating people in an equal way, or not morally right:

an unfair system
[ + to infinitive ] It's unfair to blame Robert.

More examples

  • an unfair distribution of wealth
  • She is suing the company on grounds of unfair dismissal.
  • It's unfair to take advantage of other people's misfortunes.
  • The inquiry found that they had been subjected to unfair treatment.
  • The teams change ends at half-time so that neither side has an unfair advantage.
adverb uk /ʌnˈfeə.li/ us /ʌnˈ
noun [ U ] uk /ʌnˈfeə.nəs/ us /ʌnˈfer.nəs/

(Definition of “unfair” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"unfair" in American English

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us /ʌnˈfeər/

not fair :

It seems unfair to tax you both where you work and where you live.
adverb us /ʌnˈfer·li, -ˈfær-/

The company unfairly denied her medical benefits.
noun [ U ] us /ʌnˈfer·nəs, -ˈfær-/

(Definition of “unfair” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"unfair" in Business English

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uk /ʌnˈfeər/ us

not morally right, or not treating people in an equal way:

Businesses argue that the tax idea is unfair because it is based on revenue, rather than profit.
We will not accept unfair treatment of individuals whether it be because of race, sex, age or religion.
Critics of the bill think that new service providers will be given an unfair advantage over cable companies with existing franchise agreements.
be/seem unfair to do sth It is unfair to judge infrastructure services on the basis of return on investment.
be/seem unfair that It seems unfair that the Scottish and Irish fishing industries should be hardest hit when other EU countries have also contributed to the over-fishing problem.
grossly/really unfair

Some departments claim that they were treated unfairly in the reorganization.

(Definition of “unfair” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)