un·​seem·​ly | \ˌən-ˈsēm-lē \

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 \ 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

For a media company, though, using this playbook would be unseemly. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Fox News wants everyone else to tell Twitter how mad it is at Twitter," 15 Nov. 2018 Trump’s parade was about more generally celebrating the American military and its collective arsenal — something members of Congress from both parties argued was unseemly at best and undemocratic at worst. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Trump’s $92 million military parade is postponed — for now," 17 Aug. 2018 Trying to put his unseemly departure from Georgia behind him. Don Markus, baltimoresun.com, "Five of the biggest challenges facing new Maryland athletic director Damon Evans," 28 June 2018 There is something a bit unseemly about Comey’s love of the spotlight (let alone about his cashing in on abetting the election of Donald Trump). Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Why the GOP’s Campaign Against ‘Lyin’ Comey’ Makes No Sense," 12 Apr. 2018 Now, the president’s attorney does not restrict his pardon offers to back channels, nor feel compelled to deny such unseemly machinations in public. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Giuliani: Trump Might Need to ‘Clean Up’ Mueller Probe With Pardons," 15 June 2018 The quantity of honey Mr. Jackson drizzled over and around his ribs was gratuitous if not something more unseemly. Peter Meehan, Bon Appetit, "Entering a National Barbecue Competition Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time," 4 June 2018 Blithely ignoring an agreement between two of the parties to form a majority coalition, the state’s governor instead tapped the third party to rule, granting it an unseemly two weeks to cobble together a majority. The Economist, "People in India often despair of their democracy," 31 May 2018 There’s another, unseemly side to this G.O.A.T. argument. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "LeBron James is not the GOAT, and neither is Michael Jordan," 30 May 2018

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

30 Nov 2018

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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

: not proper or appropriate for the situation : not seemly


un·​seem·​ly | \ˌən-ˈsēm-lē \
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

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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