un·​ho·​ly | \ ˌən-ˈhō-lē How to pronounce unholy (audio) \

Definition of unholy

1 : showing disregard for what is holy : wicked
2 : deserving of censure an unholy alliance
3 : very unpleasant : god-awful an unholy mess

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Other Words from unholy

unholiness noun

Examples of unholy in a Sentence

Our finances were an unholy mess. They have spent an unholy amount of money on the project.

Recent Examples on the Web

At a time when the world is an unholy mess, even asking basic questions about the purpose of business has some virtue. The Economist, "Popenomics," 7 Sep. 2019 For the thousands leaving distant suburbs at unholy hours, there is always some guy who crosses the Hudson in a collapsible kayak before unfolding his bike. Jeff Giles, New York Times, "Commuting Has Always Been Soul-Crushing, but There Are Inspiring Options," 15 Aug. 2019 This type of coverage gives them an unholy outlet of violence to be known and seen. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Calling shooters ‘lone wolves’ makes them seem like warriors," 10 Aug. 2019 For at least a quarter century, the union between club music and country music had felt particularly unholy. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Did Cam and Diplo make the century’s first great EDM-country song?," 28 June 2019 The comparatively light policing, in stark contrast to recent protests, led to public outrage and some speculation of an unholy alliance. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Suspected 'Triad' Gangs Mark Dangerous New Phase in Hong Kong's Crisis," 23 July 2019 Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Enjoy(?) an evening of decidedly un-wholesome family entertainment, as this unholy duo kick off their 2019 Hell Never Dies tour right here in Baltimore. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Things to do in Baltimore this week: Caribbean Festival, Shore Leave, outdoor movies and more," 7 July 2019 Wouldn’t that create an unholy alliance for the easily bored hoi polloi? Tom Hoffarth, latimes.com, "Darrell Waltrip provided plenty of lasting memories during Fox’s NASCAR coverage," 23 June 2019 And the most potentially disastrous product of this unholy alliance would be a vigilante state empowered to apprehend and detain designated enemies of the state—in Trump’s case, undocumented immigrants—at its virtual whim. Ed Burmila, The New Republic, "If Trump wanted to give himself sweeping new powers, could anyone stop him?," 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unholy.' 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 unholy

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unholy

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for unholy

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

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More Definitions for unholy



English Language Learners Definition of unholy

: not showing respect for a god or a religion : not holy
used to describe people or groups that are working together for a bad purpose
informal : shockingly or surprisingly bad, large, etc.


un·​ho·​ly | \ ˌən-ˈhō-lē How to pronounce unholy (audio) \
unholier; unholiest

Kids Definition of unholy

1 : not holy : wicked
2 : ungodly sense 2 Stop that unholy racket!

More from Merriam-Webster on unholy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unholy

Spanish Central: Translation of unholy

Nglish: Translation of unholy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unholy

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


concealment of treason or felony

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