Why is unfounded correct? Shouldn't it be just unfound? Why is there -ed added? Is it changing meaning?

In my understanding, I would use unfound to express something was not possible to find in past (or just now). But as found is past version of find I don't see reason why to add -ed.

  • Alas, logic does not apply to usage. Unfounded means without a basis (in other words, without logical or evidentiary foundation); unfound means searched for futilely (in other words, you couldn't find it). Just the way it is.
    – deadrat
    Sep 19 '16 at 8:48

Found is the infinitive form of a verb (from which foundation is derived):


Establish or originate (an institution or organization)
Plan and begin the building of (a settlement)
Base (something) on a particular principle, idea, or feeling.
Serve as a basis for.


Thus a building or a nation can be founded ("The First Republic of France was founded on 22 September 1792.") Moving the meaning only slightly, something which has no basis can be said to be unfounded:

He expressed the unfounded belief that I was Martian.

  • So, The company XY was unfounded because of lack of money and The searched text was unfound in the database, is that correct?
    – Buksy
    Sep 20 '16 at 8:11
  • No. Founded (pp of verb to found) and found (pp of to find) are not the same. Unfounded means baseless, not "not found", and not "not established". You can't just tack un- on a verb; I disagree with deadrat there. Sep 20 '16 at 11:28
  • I'm getting confused, if unfounded has completely different meaning from founded, what is the base of the unfounded? ... so it should be The company XY wasn't found because of lack of money. But what about the other sentence, how do I express there were no results using verb *to* find? Does a negated past form of word find exist?
    – Buksy
    Sep 20 '16 at 12:23
  • 1
    No: to found (pp founded) and to find (pp found) are different, so if you want the sense "established", it's "The company XY wasn't founded because of lack of money." If you want the sense "located", it's "The company XY wasn't found because of lack of money." The word unfound is almost always wrong: the easy rule is not to use it because "not found" will always be right. But that's not the same as "not founded" or "unfounded", because find and found are different verbs, as different as "locate" and "establish". Sep 20 '16 at 12:48

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