un·​healthy | \ ˌən-ˈhel-thē How to pronounce unhealthy (audio) \
unhealthier; unhealthiest

Definition of unhealthy

1 : not conducive to health : not healthful an unhealthy climate unhealthy habits unhealthy foods
2 : not in good health : sickly, diseased unhealthy animals
3a : risky, unsound an unhealthy economy
b : of a harmful nature : bad, injurious unhealthy levels of lead
c : morally contaminated : corrupt, unwholesome an unhealthy imagination

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Other Words from unhealthy

unhealthily \ ˌən-​ˈhel-​thə-​lē How to pronounce unhealthily (audio) \ adverb
unhealthiness \ ˌən-​ˈhel-​thē-​nəs How to pronounce unhealthiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for unhealthy


insalubrious, noisome, noxious, sickly, unhealthful, unwholesome


healthful, healthy

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Examples of unhealthy in a Sentence

Her skin looks blotchy and unhealthy. Tests revealed an unhealthy level of lead in the water. Eating honey can be unhealthy for babies. He was stuck in an unhealthy relationship. She has an unhealthy interest in natural disasters.
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Recent Examples on the Web

An unhealthy level of ground-level ozone is expected. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Dangerous heat settles upon Kansas City metro. Just how hot will it get?," 27 June 2018 Then there are living donors, the only people who go through surgery without being unhealthy, suffering the risks and some harm without any physical benefit. Joshua Mezrich, WSJ, "Losing the Humanity of Transplants," 18 Jan. 2019 Some influencers also get paid to promote dangerous weight loss products that promote unhealthy behaviors and unrealistic body standards. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Plans to Strengthen Ban on Pro-Eating Disorder Content," 12 Dec. 2018 The Greenland Ice Sheet’s unhealthy and rapid weight loss—and contribution to sea-level rise—occurs by a handful of mechanisms. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Greenland’s melting snow makes new hockey stick (graph)," 9 Dec. 2018 But doing so in a way that also celebrates unhealthy and dangerous behaviors is damaging. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kim Kardashian's Sisters Called Her "Anorexic" as a Compliment, and People Are Infuriated," 30 July 2018 Al Gentile, owner of St. George Pharmacy on Staten Island, acknowledged smoking is unhealthy but said the government shouldn’t ban certain stores from selling tobacco products that can be purchased elsewhere. Kate King, WSJ, "Cigarette Sales Ban at Pharmacies to Start in New Year," 29 Dec. 2018 Frankly, the amount of time the Dealmaster has already spent staring at his laptop screen this week is unhealthy. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: A whole bunch of early Black Friday deals have gone live," 19 Nov. 2018 The number of days when the air quality index was unhealthy was 729 in 2017. Hope Yen, The Seattle Times, "Fact-checking President Trump on migrants, Saudis, Hispanic vote," 22 Oct. 2018

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

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First Known Use of unhealthy

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unhealthy

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for unhealthy

The first known use of unhealthy was in 1595

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More Definitions for unhealthy



English Language Learners Definition of unhealthy

: not having or showing good health
: harmful to your health : likely to make you sick
: not doing well : not successful


un·​healthy | \ ˌən-ˈhel-thē How to pronounce unhealthy (audio) \
unhealthier; unhealthiest

Kids Definition of unhealthy

1 : not good for someone's health : promoting a state of poor health Smoking is an unhealthy habit.
2 : not in good health : sickly
3 : harmful, bad an unhealthy situation

Other Words from unhealthy

unhealthily \ -​thə-​lē \ adverb They eat unhealthily.


un·​healthy | \ -ˈhel-thē How to pronounce unhealthy (audio) \
unhealthier; unhealthiest

Medical Definition of unhealthy

1 : not conducive to health an unhealthy climate
2 : not in good health : sickly

Other Words from unhealthy

unhealthiness noun

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Comments on unhealthy

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