un·​ho·​ly ˌən-ˈhō-lē How to pronounce unholy (audio)
: showing disregard for what is holy : wicked
: deserving of censure
an unholy alliance
: very unpleasant : god-awful
an unholy mess
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 Cahokia’s would-be plunderers form an unholy alliance with the Ku Klux Klan, whose followers despise Cahokia’s multicultural essence and are itching for riot and murder. Mary Ann Gwinn, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Eileen, desperate to hold onto Rebecca’s approval, winds up implicated in a bizarre human experiment, an unholy and unsolicited experiment of grief, revulsion and horror. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 And then there’s the unholy alliance of toilet seats and food. Nora Taylor, Curbed, 2 Jan. 2024 But will an Academy that’s never nominated a Todd Haynes film for Best Picture get on the same wavelength as his unholy amalgam of Ingmar Bergman and TruTV? Vulture, 8 Dec. 2023 Poe is the unholy fount for much of the horror fiction Flanagan’s adapted in this series so far. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023 Completing this unholy trinity, Safdie sports a Tommy Wiseau-like wig as Dougie works to destabilize what’s already an unhealthy dynamic. Alison Herman, Variety, 10 Nov. 2023 But Thanksgiving is upon us, and surely many of us will be ducking for cover as Uncle Chuck hurls social media talking points across the table — spoon-fed to him by an unholy algorithm tailored to reinforce his baser instincts. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2023 On Thursday, the singer-songwriter shared a video on social media encouraging fans who have tickets to their show in Melbourne, Australia on Halloween to dress in their most unholy outfit. Daniela Avila, Peoplemag, 26 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unholy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near unholy

Cite this Entry

“Unholy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unholy. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​ho·​ly ˌən-ˈhō-lē How to pronounce unholy (audio)
: not holy : profane, wicked
unholiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unholy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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