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Alternative forms[edit]


Alternation (due to Christian) of Middle English uncristen, uncristene, from Old English uncristen (unchristian), equivalent to un- +‎ Christian. Compare West Frisian onkristen, Dutch onkristen (obsolete Dutch onchristen), Danish ukristen, Swedish okristen, Icelandic ókristinn.



unchristian (comparative more unchristian, superlative most unchristian)

  1. Not of the Christian faith.
  2. Not in accord with Christian principles; without Christian spirit; unbefitting a Christian.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House:
      I hope I may never again be in a state of mind so unchristian as the mental frame in which I lived for some weeks, respecting the memory of Master B. [His bell rang] two nights out of three, until I conceived the happy idea of twisting Master B.‘s neck []
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 215:
      Arius [] eventually died obscurely, reputedly as the result of an acute attack of dysentery in a latrine in Constantinople, which circumstance afforded his enemies some unchristian pleasure, and was eventually commemorated with exemplary lack of charity in the Orthodox liturgy.

Usage notes[edit]

  • unchristian is much more common than un-Christian.[1] GPO manual recommends using a hyphen when prefixing capitalized words except when usage dictates otherwise.[2]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ unchristian, un-Christian at Google Ngram Viewer
  2. ^ 6. Compounding Rules in U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual, govinfo.gov

Further reading[edit]