Is there a word that can be used to describe a person whose wishes or desires never come true? In other words, the person in question never had any of his past wishes or desires fulfilled. The word could be a noun or an adjective.

Example Sentence:

In the last 20 years, John had made several wishes, mostly related to his career growth and physical well-being. However, in all these years, none of those wishes ever came true.

With respect to the above example, is there a word to describe an individual like John, whose wishes/desires never came true?

John was ____.


John was a _____.

While researching this question I was trying to figure out if words like unlucky or unfortunate would fit in this case. Probably they would, but as such these words can be used to describe any situation where the outcome of an event was negative. It does not necessarily have to do with the fulfillment of past wishes or desires.

For instance, heavy snowstorm delayed the departure of my flight by 5 hours. But I never had a wish that my flight takes off at the right time. So in this case I can use words like unlucky, unfortunate to describe myself with respect to this situation.

Similarly, can we probably use the word cursed to describe such a person? However, a curse is a wish for something evil or unpleasant to happen to someone or something. It is not necessarily related to some unfulfilled wishes/desires. Unless of course someone is cursed that his wishes/desires will never be fulfilled.

I'm looking for word/s that can specifically be used with respect to past wishes, desires never being fulfilled.

  • cursed is not right here at all.
    – Lambie
    Dec 15, 2019 at 18:26
  • @Lambie Thank You. Will you please state why?
    – DSarkar
    Dec 15, 2019 at 18:29
  • You could say it jokingly: My flight was cancelled. I am cursed. If someone has bad luck all the time, then, you might say a person is cursed but not usually for a one-time event. It is somewhat literary.
    – Lambie
    Dec 15, 2019 at 19:03
  • 2
    You should show how the word (or phrase) that you want would be used. See this or this example. Add “John was _____.” or “John was a _____.” to what you already have. Or change to “After 20 _____ years”, “After 20 years of _____ life”, or “After 20 years of _____ hope”. Or “made several _____ wishes”. For example, “fruitless”, “futile”, “unfulfilled” or “unsatisfied” could fit the last example. I guess that that’s not what you want, but I can’t tell what you do want. … (Cont’d) Dec 29, 2019 at 6:46
  • 1
    Well, I would have liked to see more of a response to my comments — for example, are words like “unsatisfied”, “frustrated” and “thwarted” close to what you want (and, if not, why not)? But you’ve done the bare minimum, so I have voted to reopen. Dec 30, 2019 at 21:54

3 Answers 3


If his dreams are not fulfilled,

John is unfulfilled

From Dictionary. com:

not yet achieved:
his unfulfilled dreams..

not happy or satisfied, from not having achieved one’s desires or full potential:
I was feeling unfulfilled in my job


It doesn't have to be a sad-sack naturally unlucky person. In fact, it could be quite the opposite.

The person could simply have the kind of personality that sets themselves up for failure.

A Pollyanna, an optimist, an idealist, etc. are some types of this personality.

They keep their eye on the goal too much, assuming they will succeed and meanwhile ignoring the possibility that even one of the required intermediate steps will go wrong.


It depends if the person is the reason why the wishes are never fulfilled. If they are the reason, you could use synonyms for 'cursed' such as 'doomed', 'jinxed' or 'ill-fated'. If they are not the reason then they are either unlucky, e.g. 'unfortunate' or 'wretched', or they are wishing for the unlikely / impossible. I'm not aware of a good phrase, but I hope this is some help.

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