un·​nat·​u·​ral ˌən-ˈna-chə-rəl How to pronounce unnatural (audio)
: not being in accordance with nature or consistent with a normal course of events
: not being in accordance with normal human feelings or behavior : perverse
: lacking ease and naturalness : contrived
her manner was forced and unnatural
: inconsistent with what is reasonable or expected
an unnatural alliance
ˌən-ˈna-chə-rə-lē How to pronounce unnatural (audio)
unnaturalness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for unnatural

irregular, anomalous, unnatural mean not conforming to rule, law, or custom.

irregular implies not conforming to a law or regulation imposed for the sake of uniformity in method, practice, or conduct.

concerned about his irregular behavior

anomalous implies not conforming to what might be expected because of the class or type to which it belongs or the laws that govern its existence.

her drive made her an anomalous figure in a sleepy organization

unnatural suggests what is contrary to nature or to principles or standards felt to be essential to the well-being of civilized society.

prisoners treated with unnatural cruelty

Examples of unnatural in a Sentence

It seems unnatural to keep the bird in a cage. She has an unnatural obsession with money. Her smile looked forced and unnatural.
Recent Examples on the Web The current terminal interface can cause an unnatural interaction between technology and people. John Jarosz, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Big flocks of real ducks make a lot of noise, and having a spread of decoys out and not making any whistles actually sounds fairly unnatural. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 8 Nov. 2023 Flies were popping up right outside spray zones in an unnatural female-to-male ratio—and there didn’t seem to be enough larvae to account for all the adults being spotted. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Nov. 2023 The design allows stormwater to move under in a natural way stopping unnatural erosion from occurring while protecting the integrity of the structure, according to the release. Mike Jones, Arkansas Online, 31 Oct. 2023 Her bare legs, adorned with distinctive diagonal tattoos, were splayed at unnatural angles. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct. 2023 Yet history shows that medical procedures once considered unnatural can become routine. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 17 Oct. 2023 Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 23 Oct. 2023 The show, which also includes paintings on wooden doors and found tree branches and bark that are tinted unnatural colors, combines turn-of-the-last-century aesthetics with pop-art vividness. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unnatural.' 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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unnatural was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near unnatural

Cite this Entry

“Unnatural.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unnatural. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​nat·​u·​ral ˌən-ˈnach-(ə-)rəl How to pronounce unnatural (audio)
: not following nature or a normal course of events
: not being in agreement with normal feelings or behavior
: lacking ease and naturalness
-ˈnach-(ə-)rə-lē How to pronounce unnatural (audio)
unnaturalness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unnatural

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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