adjective, un·clean·er, un·clean·est.

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 formsun·clean·ness, noun

Synonyms for unclean

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for uncleanness

Historical Examples of uncleanness

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for uncleanness



lacking moral, spiritual, ritual, or physical cleanliness
Derived Formsuncleanness, 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

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