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adjective, un·seem·li·er, un·seem·li·est.
  1. not seemly; not in keeping with established standards of taste or proper form; unbecoming or indecorous in appearance, speech, conduct, etc.: an unseemly act; unseemly behavior.
  2. inappropriate for time or place: an unseemly hour.
  1. in an unseemly manner.

Origin of unseemly

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at un-1, seemly
Related formsun·seem·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for unseemly

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

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British Dictionary definitions for unseemly


  1. not in good style or taste; unbecoming
  2. obsolete unattractive
  1. rare in an unseemly manner
Derived Formsunseemliness, 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 unseemly

early 14c., "unfitting, indecent," from un- (1) "not" + seemly. Cf. Old Norse usoemiligr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper