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90s Slang You Should Know


[uhn-hohl-suh m] /ʌnˈhoʊl səm/
not wholesome; unhealthful; deleterious to health or physical or moral well-being:
unwholesome food; unwholesome activities.
not sound in health; unhealthy, especially in appearance; suggestive of disease:
an unwholesome pallor.
Origin of unwholesome
Middle English word dating back to 1150-1200; See origin at un-1, wholesome
Related forms
unwholesomely, adverb
unwholesomeness, noun
1. insalubrious, noxious, pernicious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unwholesome
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is difficult to digest even ordinary food taken in the unwholesome air of the shed at such an unearthly hour.

    Life in a Railway Factory Alfred Williams
  • It is unseasonable and unwholesome in all months that have not an R in their name to eat an oyster.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
  • To me it seems, as if there were a sickly, unwholesome smell about it, a smell of something burning.

    The Three Impostors Arthur Machen
  • It is often objected, on the other hand, that such buildings are damp and unwholesome.

    Woodward's Country Homes George E. Woodward
  • Without pure air, the cow becomes debilitated and diseased, and the milk impure and unwholesome.

    Hints on Dairying T. D. Curtis
  • Which you may have all to yourself, June, for I think them unwholesome things.

    Yr Ynys Unyg Julia de Winton
  • More valuable, however, were the regulations introduced with the object of preventing the sale of bad and unwholesome food.

    A History of Police in England W. L. Melville Lee
  • As I awoke I found my throat sore from the unwholesome moisture I had inhaled.

    Salt Water W. H. G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for unwholesome


detrimental to physical or mental health: an unwholesome climate
morally harmful or depraved: unwholesome practices
indicative of illness, esp in appearance
(esp of food) of inferior quality
Derived Forms
unwholesomely, adverb
unwholesomeness, 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 unwholesome

c.1200, from un- (1) "not" + wholesome. Cf. Flemish onheylsaem, German unheilsam, Old Norse uheilsamr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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