[ uhn-hoh-lee ]
/ ʌnˈhoʊ li /

adjective, un·ho·li·er, un·ho·li·est.

not holy; not sacred or hallowed.
impious; sinful; wicked.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for unholy

British Dictionary definitions for unholy


/ (ʌnˈhəʊlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

not holy or sacred
immoral or depraved
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