• synonyms


adjective, un·wor·thi·er, un·wor·thi·est.
  1. not worthy; lacking worth or excellence.
  2. beneath the dignity (usually followed by of): behavior unworthy of a king.
  3. of a kind not worthy (often followed by of).
  4. not of adequate merit or character.
  5. not commendable or creditable.
  6. not deserving.
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noun, plural un·wor·thies.
  1. an unworthy person.
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Origin of unworthy

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at un-1, worthy
Related formsun·wor·thi·ly, adverbun·wor·thi·ness, nounself-un·wor·thi·ness, noun



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unworthily

Historical Examples

  • I am astonished that you should have treated me so unworthily.

    St. Winifred's

    Frederic W. Farrar

  • When we enter this cathedral, unless we enter it unworthily, we speak not of such things.

    The Foot-path Way

    Bradford Torrey

  • Yet why should any one think that he is unworthily or degradingly employed.

  • I dare answer for him he will not think of bestowing you unworthily.

  • I should not think Miss Dalzell one to love lightly or unworthily.

    Miles Tremenhere, Vol 1 of 2

    Annette Marie Maillard

British Dictionary definitions for unworthily


  1. (often foll by of) not deserving or worthy
  2. (often foll by of) beneath the level considered befitting (to)that remark is unworthy of you
  3. lacking merit or value
  4. (of treatment) not warranted or deserved
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Derived Formsunworthily, adverbunworthiness, 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 unworthily



mid-13c., unwurði, from un- (1) "not" + worthy. Cf. Middle Dutch onwerdich, Dutch onwaardig, Middle Low German unwerdich, Old High German unwirdig, Old Norse uverðugr.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper