un·​whole·​some | \ ˌən-ˈhōl-səm How to pronounce unwholesome (audio) \

Definition of unwholesome

1 : detrimental to physical, mental, or moral well-being : unhealthy unwholesome food unwholesome pastimes
2a : corrupt, unsound shady unwholesome dealings
b : offensive to the senses : loathsome the unwholesome stench

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Other Words from unwholesome

unwholesomely adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for unwholesome


insalubrious, noisome, noxious, sickly, unhealthful, unhealthy


healthful, healthy

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Examples of unwholesome in a Sentence

He has an unwholesome fascination with death. health inspectors shut down several food stands that were using tainted and unwholesome meat

Recent Examples on the Web

Yet, the price of an unlikely unwholesome outcome (from India’s point of view) will, in a substantial measure, have to be paid by Muslims. Salman Khurshid, Quartz India, "Rumours, suspicions, fears: What Indian Muslims have battled since Independence," 26 July 2019 Douglas hopes that within the safe space of the home parents and kids can enter a dialogue about these aspects of childhood, which often are waved away as unwholesome fantasy. Jef Rouner, Houston Chronicle, "Wilde Collection art show makes dark less scary for young artists," 21 June 2018 And the whole ad is absolutely memorable, in a thoroughly unwholesome way. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "The Most Unhinged Political Ad of 2018 Is Already Here," 9 Apr. 2018 All five children in the home were found living in unwholesome and unsafe surroundings covered with filth, dirty diapers, lice and insect bites, according to social workers and an investigator who testified in Accomack County court. USA TODAY, "Toddlers in cages: Virginia mom indicted on 5 counts of child abuse," 5 Oct. 2017 While decidedly unwholesome, the wanton gala headlined by RL Grime was imbued with good cheer. By Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "RL Grime headlines the Seasons Music Festival at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland," 5 Aug. 2017 This time around, Bertie’s mother, Irene, is determined to protect him from the unwholesome influences of modern life. Bethanne Patrick, The Denver Post, "A Scottish boy needs all the moral support he can get in “The Bertie Project”," 24 Feb. 2017 Now here's the dismaying part: The aliens, who look like the product of an unwholesome experiment to cross a scorpion with a mole rat, enter the world aggressive, energetic, and hungry. Seth Shostak, NBC News, "‘Alien: Covenant’ Offers Ghoulish Fun But ‘Tinsel Town Science’," 22 May 2017 Someone who is rude, conceited, lacks hygiene and is unwholesome. David Perloff, Pacific San Diego Magazine, "Blind Date: Fly boys take to the air," 28 June 2017

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for unwholesome

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for unwholesome

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

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English Language Learners Definition of unwholesome

: not good for your health
: not mentally or morally good and normal


un·​whole·​some | \ ˌən-ˈhōl-səm How to pronounce unwholesome (audio) \

Kids Definition of unwholesome

: not good for bodily, mental, or moral health unwholesome food

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Comments on unwholesome

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


a period when something is suspended

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