See more synonyms for unholy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, un·ho·li·er, un·ho·li·est.
  1. not holy; not sacred or hallowed.
  2. impious; sinful; wicked.
  3. Informal. dreadful; ungodly: They got us out of bed at the unholy hour of three in the morning.

Origin of unholy

before 1000; Middle English; Old English unhālig (cognate with Dutch onheilig, Old Norse ūheilagr). See un-1, holy
Related formsun·ho·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unholy

Contemporary Examples of unholy

Historical Examples of unholy

  • Woe betide—but, was there ever such a gathering of unclean, unholy humanity?

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • “I can think about both,” was my unholy, time-serving reply.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • They, too, might be banished, if the feeling that they were unholy and abominable could sink into the minds of men.



  • The declaration that such things are hateful to the Gods, and most abominable and unholy.



  • The legislator who puts them in another order is doing an unholy and unpatriotic thing.



British Dictionary definitions for unholy


adjective -lier or -liest
  1. not holy or sacred
  2. immoral or depraved
  3. informal outrageous or unnaturalan unholy alliance
Derived Formsunholiness, 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 unholy

Old English unhalig, "impious, profane, wicked," from un- (1) "not" + halig (see holy). Cf. Middle Dutch onheilich, Old Norse uheilagr, Danish unhellig, Swedish ohelig. In reference to actions, it is attested from late 14c. Colloquial sense of "awful, dreadful" is recorded from 1842.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper