View synonyms for unwholesome


[ uhn-hohl-suhm ]


  1. not wholesome; unhealthful; deleterious to health or physical or moral well-being:

    unwholesome food; unwholesome activities.

    Synonyms: pernicious, noxious, insalubrious

  2. not sound in health; unhealthy, especially in appearance; suggestive of disease:

    an unwholesome pallor.


/ ʌnˈhəʊlsəm /


  1. detrimental to physical or mental health

    an unwholesome climate

  2. morally harmful or depraved

    unwholesome practices

  3. indicative of illness, esp in appearance
  4. (esp of food) of inferior quality

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Derived Forms

  • unˈwholesomeness, noun
  • unˈwholesomely, adverb

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Other Words From

  • un·wholesome·ly adverb
  • un·wholesome·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of unwholesome1

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; un- 1, wholesome

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Example Sentences

In an interview this week, Egeland strongly defended the propriety of delivering aid to unwholesome parts of northern Syria.

Conservatives have spent decades fulminating against a gay conspiracy to promote their unwholesome “agenda” in public schools.

The strong hand relaxed, another moment and the man, slipping round the corner like an unwholesome spirit, was gone.

Yesterday the ground appeared, and a hard rain coming down at the same time washed off much of the unwholesome debris.

Piso says, that the flesh of the six banded is not eatable; and Nieremberg affirms, that it is unwholesome and pernicious.

The woody hollow of Cowan's Bridge was foggy, unwholesome, damp.

Clothing, also, especially in boys the breeches, may give rise during childhood to unwholesome stimulation.


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[ak-suh-lot-l ]

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