Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective un·nat·u·ral \ˌən-ˈna-chə-rəl, -ˈnach-rəl\

Simple Definition of unnatural

  • : different from how things usually are in the physical world or in nature

  • : different from what is normal in a way that is seen as wrong, disturbing, etc.

  • : not real

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of unnatural

  1. 1 :  not being in accordance with nature or consistent with a normal course of events

  2. 2 a :  not being in accordance with normal human feelings or behavior :  perverse b :  lacking ease and naturalness :  contrived <her manner was forced and unnatural> c :  inconsistent with what is reasonable or expected <an unnatural alliance>

unnaturally play \-ˈna-chə-rə-lē, -ˈnach-rə-, -ˈna-chər-\ adverb
unnaturalness play \-ˈna-chə-rəl-nəs, -ˈnach-rəl-\ noun

Examples of unnatural in a sentence

  1. It seems unnatural to keep the bird in a cage.

  2. She has an unnatural obsession with money.

  3. Her smile looked forced and unnatural.

14th Century

First Known Use of unnatural

14th century

Synonym Discussion of unnatural

irregular, anomalous, unnatural mean not conforming to rule, law, or custom. irregular implies not conforming to a law or regulation imposed for the sake of uniformity in method, practice, or conduct <concerned about his irregular behavior>. anomalous implies not conforming to what might be expected because of the class or type to which it belongs or the laws that govern its existence <her drive made her an anomalous figure in a sleepy organization>. unnatural suggests what is contrary to nature or to principles or standards felt to be essential to the well-being of civilized society <prisoners treated with unnatural cruelty>.

Rhymes with unnatural

UNNATURAL Defined for Kids


adjective un·nat·u·ral \ˌən-ˈna-chə-rəl, -ˈnach-rəl\

Definition of unnatural for Students

  1. 1 :  different from what is found in nature or happens naturally

  2. 2 :  different from what is usually considered normal behavior

  3. 3 :  not genuine <an unnatural smile>

unnaturally adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up unnatural? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to expose to danger or risk

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.