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

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 His orders were to befriend those natives, frustrate the unholy alliance between the British and the fledgling United States, promote commerce and pioneer a new route across the continent. Felipe Fernández-armesto, WSJ, "‘El Norte’ and ‘América’ Review: The Improbable Empire," 1 Mar. 2019 Four years of mechanized slaughter left the righteous crusade looking like an unholy debacle. Joseph Loconte, WSJ, "What World War I Taught the Clergy," 8 Nov. 2018 Richie’s family has been openly discouraging of this unholy union. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Sofia Richie, 19, and Scott Disick, 35, Are ‘Back to Normal’," 19 June 2018 Is that hamburger a sacred rite or an unholy sacrifice? Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "This Natalie Portman–Backed Documentary Will Make You Seriously Consider Going Vegetarian," 16 June 2018

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

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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!

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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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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