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From un- +‎ earthly.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʌnˈɜːθ.li/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ʌnˈɝθ.li/
  • (file)
  • (file)


unearthly (comparative unearthlier, superlative unearthliest)

  1. Not of the earth; non-terrestrial.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 205:
      They were, I now saw, the most unearthly creatures it is possible to conceive.
    • 2012, Charles Lockwood, Tragedy at Honda, page 65:
      In the hard glare of the Searchlight, which had been manned by Seaman 2nd class Evans W. Watkins, the rock had the unearthly look of a miniature satellite in space.
  2. Preternatural or supernatural.
  3. Strange, enigmatic, or mysterious.
    • 1819, [publ. Sep 1858], James Morton, “The Poetical Remains of the late Dr. John Leyden, with Memoirs of his Life”, in The Calcutta Review, volume 31, page 25:
      I then set out to survey the town in the self-same palankeen. The houses had all of them an unearthly appearance, by no means consonant to our ideas of Oriental splendor.
  4. Ideal beyond the mundane.
    • 2000, Aileen Ribeiro, The Gallery of Fashion, page 42:
      By the late sixteenth century Elizabeth had become the icon-like Virgin Queen of legend, an image created, to a large extent, by her extraordinary, unearthly costume and appearance.
  5. Ridiculous, ludicrous, or outrageous.
    • 1927, The Walther League Messenger, volume 36, page 225:
      I see my boys all wearing the same unearthly trousers, the same hair cuts, garish ties and sweaters, all rolling their socks and entertaining the same crazy notions about everything.
    • 1961 May, Mark B. Warburton, “Yatton and its branches to Clevedon and Wells”, in Trains Illustrated, page 281:
      Two daily freight trips are run between Bristol West Depot and Wells. The first leaves Bristol at the unearthly hour of 3.50 a.m. and enters the branch at Yatton an hour later, over two hours before the first passenger train.