[uhn-nach-er-uhl, -nach-ruhl]


contrary to the laws or course of nature.
at variance with the character or nature of a person, animal, or plant.
at variance with what is normal or to be expected: the unnatural atmosphere of the place.
lacking human qualities or sympathies; monstrous; inhuman: an obsessive and unnatural hatred.
not genuine or spontaneous; artificial or contrived: a stiff, unnatural manner.
Obsolete. lacking a valid or natural claim; illegitimate.

Origin of unnatural

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at un-1, natural
Related formsun·nat·u·ral·ly, adverbun·nat·u·ral·ness, noun

Synonyms for unnatural

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

Examples from the Web for unnatural

Contemporary Examples of unnatural

Historical Examples of unnatural

  • What the unnatural father would have done next, I do not know.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • For a moment she felt the full swinging of it; it did not seem at all strange or unnatural to her.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • I beg of you to persist in your address—the unnatural brother called it address!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Are we to be exposed to this unnatural conduct every moment of our lives?

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Arthur spoke presently, his tone so calm a one as almost to be unnatural.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for unnatural



contrary to nature; abnormal
not in accordance with accepted standards of behaviour or right and wrongunnatural love
uncanny; supernaturalunnatural phenomena
affected or forcedan unnatural manner
inhuman or monstrous; wickedan unnatural crime
obsolete illegitimate
Derived Formsunnaturally, adverbunnaturalness, 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 unnatural

early 15c., "not in accord with physical nature," from un- (1) "not" + natural (adj.). Meaning "artificial" is attested from 1746; that of "at variance with moral standards" is from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper