un·​sa·​vory | \ˌən-ˈsā-və-rē, -ˈsāv-rē\

Definition of unsavory 

2a : unpleasant to taste or smell

b : disagreeable, distasteful an unsavory assignment especially : morally offensive unsavory business practices

Keep scrolling for more

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

Experts testifying on Puliafito’s behalf said they would be concerned if Puliafito continued to associate with the unsavory characters of his past. Adam Elmahrek, latimes.com, "Amid new questions, former USC medical school dean fights to keep his license," 9 June 2018 When Bitcoin’s price spiked last year, many big financial institutions took an interest in the virtual currency as a new kind of investment and have looked to move it away from its unsavory associations. New York Times, "How Russian Spies Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign," 13 July 2018 When bitcoin’s price spiked last year, many big financial institutions took an interest in the virtual currency as a new kind of investment and have looked to move it away from its unsavory associations. BostonGlobe.com, "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 Trump's administration sanctioned several Russian organizations on Thursday for unsavory behavior, including attempts to alter the 2016 presidential election. Jessica Durando, USA TODAY, "Retired four-star Army general: Trump, 'under the sway of Putin,' threatens national security," 17 Mar. 2018 The retro clip has Musgraves living out her 9-to-5 fantasies at bland 1970s-looking office with some unsavory, kind of gross coworkers. Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "Kacey Musgraves Leaves it All on the Dancefloor in Sassy Disco Country 'High Horse' Video: Watch," 12 July 2018 LeSean McCoy has been connected with yet another unsavory incident. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Since I was asked: LeSean McCoy handled his issues with me aggressively | Marcus Hayes," 11 July 2018 Here, a brief timeline of Trump's somewhat unsavory history with the Princess Diana, Duchess Kate, and the rest of the Windsors. Trump Courts Princess Diana. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A Brief History of Donald Trump’s Controversial Interactions with the British Royal Family," 9 July 2018 But much like his mentor and patron, Ailes, Shine had a long tenure that was clouded by unsavory allegations and associations with darker chapters in the network’s history. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Former Fox executive Bill Shine joins White House as communications chief," 5 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of unsavory

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unsavory

Dictionary Entries near unsavory








Statistics for unsavory

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsavory

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unsavory



English Language Learners Definition of unsavory

: unpleasant or offensive

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!