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

Elegant and regal above the surface; unseemly and ungainly below. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "10 Big Questions Ahead of the 2019 U.S. Open," 24 Aug. 2019 The act of preserving a corpse implies fetishization, an unseemly privileging of the physical. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Taxidermy Is a Metaphor for Our Time," 21 Aug. 2019 There was another unseemly turn in Vance’s handling of this case: David Boies, Weinstein’s lawyer since 2005, donated $10,000 to the Vance campaign soon after Vance dropped his investigation. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Is Cy Vance the Next Invincible New York Democrat to Lose?," 15 Aug. 2019 There would be no provocative politics or unseemly images; just snazzy matching outfits and unforgettable, surging sounds aching with longing and incandescent with joy. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Motown remembered, Halston refashioned, a rising star fallen," 15 Aug. 2019 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 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 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

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

7 Sep 2019

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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

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

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


concealment of treason or felony

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