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[uhn-wel] /ʌnˈwɛl/
not well; ailing; ill.
Older Use. menstruating.
Origin of unwell
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see un-1, well1
Related forms
unwellness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for unwell
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the spring of this year he had written to Thompson: “Hallam announces himself this morning as not otherwise than unwell.”

  • She put her arm within his, and anxiously inquired whether he was not unwell.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • The next morning, after breakfast, he asked his host if he was unwell, for he looked worn and anxious.

    The Cornet of Horse G. A. Henty
  • Often her husband, noting her pallor, asked if she were unwell.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • This, joined to the extraordinary coldness of his hand, made me inquire whether he was unwell.

    Basil Wilkie Collins
British Dictionary definitions for unwell


(postpositive) not well; ill
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 unwell

mid-15c., "somewhat ill," from un- (1) "not" + well (adj.). Cf. North Frisian unwel, German unwohl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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