not savory; tasteless or insipid: an unsavory meal.
unpleasant in taste or smell; distasteful.
unappealing or disagreeable, as a pursuit: Poor teachers can make education unsavory.
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

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

Examples from the Web for unsavoury

Contemporary Examples of unsavoury

Historical Examples of unsavoury

British Dictionary definitions for unsavoury


US unsavory


objectionable or distastefulan unsavoury character
disagreeable in odour or taste
Derived Formsunsavourily or US unsavorily, adverbunsavouriness or US unsavoriness, 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 unsavoury



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