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The Haste spell states that you can

take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.

(emphasis mine)

But we know that "weapon attacks" and "melee weapon attacks" are different, since weapon attacks require the use of an actual weapon, while unarmed strikes are classified as melee weapon attacks, and cannot use things like Booming Blade or Thunderous Smite as you don't have a physical weapon.

Since it says "only", does that disqualify a hasted character from using an Unarmed Strike as an attack (as it's not a weapon attack)? Or does it allow the character to instead make the usual number of attacks they can make if they use an Unarmed Strike (because of the same reasoning)?

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Haste allows one additional Unarmed Strike

The reasoning is present in your own question; haste states that you can:

take the Attack (one weapon attack only)

And you point out that:

weapon attacks require the use of an actual weapon, while unarmed strikes are classified as melee weapon attacks.

Given that an unarmed strike is a melee weapon attack, and that's exactly what haste allows, then unarmed strikes qualify for the extra attack granted by haste.

However, you would still only be able to make one additional unarmed strike, just the same as if you were making attacks with a weapon, since haste explicitly says "one weapon attack only".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You might be able to improve this answer by pointing out that attacks are divided into four categories along two axis. Attacks are always either a spell attack or a weapon attack, a ranged attack or a melee attack. Unarmed strikes aren't spell attacks, so they have to be weapon attacks, as well as melee weapon attacks, which means they're melee attacks too. \$\endgroup\$ – RonLugge Aug 16 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ronlugge this is not true, such as with grapple/shove which are neither weapon nor spell attacks. Though I do believe they are the only exception to your four-way chart there are other things the books use when describing attacks such as specifying the type of weapon that needs to be used and not the type of attack. see this question: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/149651/… \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Aug 17 at 12:37

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