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 unseemliness (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


He spent unseemly amounts of money on himself. an unseemly interest in their host's income and expenses

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The fight for credit has been a recurring and unseemly undercurrent in Berea. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com, "Freddie Kitchens turns the Bob Wylie conversation, intent on avoiding the muck of the past: Doug Lesmerises," 5 Aug. 2019 No one admits that booking events there is an effort to ingratiate themselves with the president, but the look is at best unseemly. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Border Patrol Foundation moved its 2018 fundraiser to Trump’s hotel," 19 July 2019 But now authorities in cities around the country have declared that the broader practice of exposing body parts that should be covered — including chests, bellies and feet — is unseemly. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "A mainstay of the Chinese summer, the ‘Beijing Bikini,’ is under threat," 20 June 2019 There was also some grumbling about the team’s enthusiastic celebration of its 13-0 victory over Thailand last month, which some folks thought was unseemly (code for unladylike?) given the lopsided score. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: How the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup and saved the day," 8 July 2019 To anyone used to the relatively vertical structure of the global Catholic church, this will seem like an unseemly mess. Erasmus, The Economist, "The gift of overcoming barriers eludes the world’s Orthodox Christians," 15 June 2019 Cosby’s new defense team has already proven itself willing to lob attacks at Constand that his previous lawyers deemed too risky or too unseemly. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "Bill Cosby's retrial: Everything you need to know," 6 Apr. 2018 It’s as unlikely—and unseemly—a media war as the country has ever seen. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "What Does Gavin de Becker Actually Do for Jeff Bezos?," 8 Feb. 2019 Ackley revamped his swing on multiple occasions, sometimes to unseemly proportions. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "‘I’m in a way better spot’: Back with Mariners on minor-league deal, Dustin Ackley is hopeful, and realistic," 20 Feb. 2019

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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Statistics for unseemly

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unseemly

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on unseemly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unseemly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unseemly

Spanish Central: Translation of unseemly

Nglish: Translation of unseemly for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unseemly

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a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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