[ uhn-seem-lee ]
/ ʌnˈsim li /

adjective, un·seem·li·er, un·seem·li·est.

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.
inappropriate for time or place: an unseemly hour.


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

Examples from the Web for unseemly

British Dictionary definitions for unseemly


/ (ʌnˈsiːmlɪ) /


not in good style or taste; unbecoming
obsolete unattractive


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