un·​sa·​vory | \ ˌən-ˈsā-və-rē How to pronounce unsavory (audio) , -ˈsāv-rē\

Definition of unsavory

2a : unpleasant to taste or smell
b : disagreeable, distasteful an unsavory assignment especially : morally offensive unsavory business practices

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Examples of unsavory in a Sentence

He is an unsavory character. an unsavory blend of spices that simply overwhelmed the fish's delicate flavor

Recent Examples on the Web

From this perspective, Mr. Putin looks less like a malign force bent on dismantling the cathedral of liberty and more like an unsavory but potentially useful partner. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Is Helsinki Trump’s Iran Deal?," 16 July 2018 Otherwise, skipping just a day will be evident by way of unsavory flaking and sallowness. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Pro’s Guide to Managing Sensitive Skin This Winter," 27 Dec. 2018 Among the unsavory characters who found refuge in 1934 at 334 Riverside, which by then had been renovated into a rooming house, was the book’s title character — Bernard (Bennie the Bum) McMahon. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Escape from New York, or Embracing It Within One City Block," 31 Jan. 2018 Koh Tao, though popular with foreign backpackers, has gained an unsavory reputation since the murders of British nationals Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, who were beaten to death on a beach there in 2014. Fox News, "Thai police arrest 12 for sharing Facebook rape allegation," 6 Sep. 2018 Britain has never had—and looks unlikely to ever have—a systematic reckoning with its unsavory history, choosing willed oblivion instead. Neel Mukherjee, WSJ, "‘The Last Englishmen’ Review: India, Everest and Empire," 23 Aug. 2018 On Sunday, Oliver raised questions about EOS’s status and alluded to Pierce having an unsavory history. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Why the Cofounder of This Hot Crytocurrency Startup Is Out After John Oliver Criticized Him on 'Last Week Tonight'," 16 Mar. 2018 Trump’s words have been parroted by other people accused of unsavory acts in recent months. Allyson Chiu, The Seattle Times, "Man accused of groping woman on flight invokes Trump," 23 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, the drip-drip of revelations will continue to dent the image of the GRU, but not deter it from unsavory actions, experts said. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "New blow to GRU: More Russian military spies exposed," 26 Oct. 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unsavory

Last Updated

26 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for unsavory

The first known use of unsavory was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of unsavory

: unpleasant or offensive

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More from Merriam-Webster on unsavory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unsavory

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Spanish Central: Translation of unsavory

Britannica English: Translation of unsavory for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unsavory

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


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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