not well; ailing; ill.
Older Use. menstruating.

Origin of unwell

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at un-1, well1
Related formsun·well·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unwell

Contemporary Examples of unwell

Historical Examples of unwell

  • Mr. Fleurant, gently, if you please; if you go on like that, no one will wish to be unwell.

  • Sophy was unwell, was feverish; the scarlet fever had been in the neighbourhood.

  • For the next few days Evelyn was unwell, and did not quit her room.

  • The Marchesino had really been unwell, as he had told Hermione.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • In short it was so apparent that the other guests looked at them, and asked them if they were unwell.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for unwell



(postpositive) not well; ill
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 unwell

mid-15c., "somewhat ill," from un- (1) "not" + well (adj.). Cf. North Frisian unwel, German unwohl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper