un·​seem·​ly | \ ˌən-ˈsēm-lē How to pronounce unseemly (audio) \

Definition of unseemly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not seemly: such as
a : not according with established standards of good form or taste unseemly bickering
b : not suitable for time or place : inappropriate, unseasonable



Definition of unseemly (Entry 2 of 2)

: in an unseemly manner

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Other Words from unseemly


unseemliness \ ˌən-​ˈsēm-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce unseemly (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for unseemly


indecorous, improper, unseemly, unbecoming, indelicate mean not conforming to what is accepted as right, fitting, or in good taste. indecorous suggests a violation of accepted standards of good manners. indecorous behavior improper applies to a broader range of transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed method. improper use of campaign contributions unseemly adds a suggestion of special inappropriateness to a situation or an offensiveness to good taste. remarried with unseemly haste unbecoming suggests behavior or language that does not suit one's character or status. conduct unbecoming to an officer indelicate implies a lack of modesty or of tact or of refined perception of feeling. indelicate expressions for bodily functions

Examples of unseemly in a Sentence

Adjective He spent unseemly amounts of money on himself. an unseemly interest in their host's income and expenses
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective News of the investigation spurred additional reports of unseemly behavior from Gaetz that are not necessarily connected to the investigation. Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, "Matt Gaetz digs in on denials. Here is the context," 5 Apr. 2021 However, some of the work practices claimed by those seeking a union were unseemly and Bezos defended the company against the worst of those allegations. Joseph Pisani, chicagotribune.com, "After union push falls short, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos vows to focus on workers. ‘I think we need to do a better job for our employees.’," 15 Apr. 2021 Even more intriguing, in that respect, will be the evolution toward AVs: autonomous vehicles, powered by aforementioned A.I. and deep-learning technologies, that will render human drivers redundant—and an unseemly, risky relic of the past. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "How to invest for the 22nd century," 15 Apr. 2021 His career was left for dead after his ouster from Louisville following that school's unseemly recruiting scandal a few years back. Eddie Pells, Star Tribune, "March Madness: 68 teams punch ticket; the hard part awaits," 15 Mar. 2021 But talking right now about Tiger playing golf again is both unseemly and ridiculous. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: We can't stop talking about Tiger Woods and his golf career, even when we should," 24 Feb. 2021 An unseemly public spat risks tarnishing the monarchy and in turn the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s nascent brand, says Rita Clifton, a former chairwoman of branding consulting firm Interbrand. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Oprah Interview Is a Royal Balancing Act," 7 Mar. 2021 Elvis had already lost his job at shortstop to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and faced the unseemly prospect of playing third until Josh Jung’s ready. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Trading Elvis Andrus was the right move, but that doesn’t mean the Rangers won’t miss him," 6 Feb. 2021 Instead, after Senator McCain died, Trump enjoyed carte blanche for some of the most vicious and unseemly attacks on the dead. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "A Final Assessment of the Trump Presidency, and the Path Forward," 17 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Some see it as unseemly; others call it harmless fun. Correspondent Maureen Maher, CBS News, "Did Kat West's online life play a role in her mysterious death?," 10 Apr. 2021 No one alive has ever seen a presidential debate like Tuesday night’s unseemly shout fest between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden - 90 minutes of invective, interruptions and personal insults. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Presidential debate devolves into a dispiriting first faceoff — and an insult to America," 30 Sep. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unseemly

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The first known use of unseemly was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unseemly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unseemly. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for unseemly



English Language Learners Definition of unseemly

formal : not proper or appropriate for the situation : not seemly


un·​seem·​ly | \ ˌən-ˈsēm-lē How to pronounce unseemly (audio) \
unseemlier; unseemliest

Kids Definition of unseemly

: not polite or proper unseemly behavior

More from Merriam-Webster on unseemly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unseemly

Nglish: Translation of unseemly for Spanish Speakers

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