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[uhn-kleen] /ʌnˈklin/
adjective, uncleaner, uncleanest.
not clean; dirty.
morally impure; evil; vile:
unclean thoughts.
Chiefly Biblical. having a physical or moral blemish so as to make impure according to the laws, especially the dietary or ceremonial laws:
an unclean animal; unclean persons.
Origin of unclean
before 900; Middle English unclene, Old English unclǣne. See un-1, clean
Related forms
uncleanness, noun
1. soiled, filthy. 2. base, unchaste, sinful, corrupt, polluted. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for uncleanness
Historical Examples
  • What was he but a whited sepulchre, full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness?

    Salted With Fire George MacDonald
  • The people were poor and ill-clad, and they smelt of garlic and uncleanness.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • But a spasm of disgust at the uncleanness of the task to be done made me retch and pause.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • uncleanness and the evil eye are dogmatic notions, products of demonism.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Because God dwelt among them, the camp was holy: all uncleanness was to be removed from it.

    Holy in Christ Andrew Murray
  • On account of the ceremonial "uncleanness" caused by the dead body.

  • But, Derry, 'there is a fountain opened for sin and all uncleanness.'

    The Boy Patriot

    Edward Sylvester Ellis
  • They never pretended, sister; they never meddle, but in case of uncleanness.

    The Beaux-Stratagem George Farquhar
  • And for his practice, he was now drunken in all manner of uncleanness and filthiness.

  • The Goddess shall purge me from my uncleanness as metal is purged from the dross.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
British Dictionary definitions for uncleanness


lacking moral, spiritual, ritual, or physical cleanliness
Derived Forms
uncleanness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for uncleanness



Old English unclæne, "morally impure, defiled, unfit for food," from un- (1) "not" + clean (adj.). Literal sense of "dirty" is recorded from mid-13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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