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  1. not savory; tasteless or insipid: an unsavory meal.
  2. unpleasant in taste or smell; distasteful.
  3. unappealing or disagreeable, as a pursuit: Poor teachers can make education unsavory.
  4. socially or morally objectionable or offensive: an unsavory past; an unsavory person.
Also especially British, un·sa·vour·y.

Origin of unsavory

Middle English word dating back to 1175–1225; see origin at un-1, savory1
Related formsun·sa·vor·i·ly, adverbun·sa·vor·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for unsavory

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for unsavory

early 13c., "tasteless, insipid," from un- (1) "not" + savory (adj.). Meaning "unpleasant or disagreeable to the taste" is attested from late 14c.; of persons, from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper