un·​clean | \ ˌən-ˈklēn How to pronounce unclean (audio) \

Definition of unclean

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unclean

uncleanness \ ˌən-​ˈklēn-​nəs How to pronounce uncleanness (audio) \ noun

Examples of unclean in a Sentence

Many of their health problems were caused by unclean living conditions. there's something unclean about this whole business
Recent Examples on the Web Doctors often refuse to treat the sweepers, who are seen as unclean and untouchable. New York Times, "Sewer Cleaners Wanted in Pakistan: Only Christians Need Apply.," 4 May 2020 Samaritan’s Purse is unclean, and on that accord the Episcopal church rejects its help, crossing the street like the priest in the parable, unwilling to defile himself and attend to the sick. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Stop Harassing Samaritan’s Purse," 20 Apr. 2020 Then a spot debunking the notion that Trump had genuine concerns about corruption and nepotism, including dripping allusions to how unclean his own hands are in this area. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Get real, Democrats, and fight for public support of impeachment," 10 Dec. 2019 Apparently, outlawing clean, domestic natural gas allows one to justify importing unclean Saudi oil. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cult of West-Shaming," 30 Jan. 2020 As the Ajinomoto campaign points out, the public scare over MSG unfairly placed the blame on Chinese food -- and is partly why many in the United States still think of Chinese food as processed, unclean, or unhealthy. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "MSG in Chinese food isn't unhealthy -- you're just racist, activists say," 18 Jan. 2020 But that requires a good deal of energy and also produces carbon dioxide at the same time, making the process decidedly unclean. William Wilkes, Washington Post, "How ‘Green Hydrogen’ Could Make ‘Green Steel’ Real," 23 Nov. 2019 But the water from these sources can also become contaminated during unregulated distribution and storage in unclean tanks. Hazem Balousha, Washington Post, "The U.N. once predicted Gaza would be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020. Two million people still live there.," 2 Jan. 2020 And India, the tiger, was living in such unclean conditions that flies ate away at her ears to the point that a vet later thought they had been surgically trimmed. Washington Post, "Roadside zoo in Md. must prepare to give up endangered animals after PETA sues," 2 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of unclean

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unclean

Time Traveler for unclean

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for unclean

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unclean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unclean. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unclean


How to pronounce unclean (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unclean

: not clean : dirty
: not innocent and good : morally impure
: not allowed to be used by religious law


un·​clean | \ ˌən-ˈklēn How to pronounce unclean (audio) \

Kids Definition of unclean

2 : not pure and innocent
3 : not allowed for use by religious law

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unclean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unclean

Spanish Central: Translation of unclean

Nglish: Translation of unclean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unclean for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unclean

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!