unclean

adjective

un·​clean ˌən-ˈklēn How to pronounce unclean (audio)
1
2
: morally or spiritually impure
3
: infected with a harmful supernatural contagion
also : prohibited by ritual law for use or contact
4
: lacking in clarity and precision of conception or execution
uncleanness noun

Example Sentences

Many of their health problems were caused by unclean living conditions. there's something unclean about this whole business
Recent Examples on the Web O’Neill’s entire style of art was unique, with unclean lines and awkward creatures and colors. Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2022 However, the restaurant received repeat violations for an unclean cutting board and for not having a trash can at the handwash sink. Garfield Hylton, Orlando Sentinel, 24 Oct. 2022 Carter Center efforts have nearly eradicated the guinea worm, a parasite spread through unclean drinking water and painful to humans. Bill Barrow, ajc, 1 Oct. 2022 Cutting up a cadaver helped Weston realize the peculiar status of the surgeon, who is at once exalted and yet also belongs with those professions always viewed as unclean: sewer and slaughterhouse workers, refuse collectors and gravediggers. Will Self, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 My parents have explained to me that, back home, all raw produce is unclean. Connie Wang, refinery29.com, 7 Sep. 2022 The effects of unclean, unusable drinking water could be especially pronounced for the city's older residents, who may have compounding health issues, and may not be able to wait in long lines for bottled supplies or easily leave their homes. Priya Krishnakumar, CNN, 2 Sep. 2022 Homes plagued by mold, electrical fires, and unclean water. Essence, 29 Aug. 2022 Passengers who rely on the elevators say that they are poorly maintained and that even those that are operating properly are overly crowded, unclean and plagued by foul smells. New York Times, 22 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unclean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of unclean was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near unclean

Cite this Entry

“Unclean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unclean. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

unclean

adjective

un·​clean ˌən-ˈklēn How to pronounce unclean (audio)
1
: not pure and innocent : wicked
2
: prohibited by religious law for use or contact
3
uncleanness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unclean

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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