Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English unlovely, onlovely, unlovelich, equivalent to un- +‎ lovely.


unlovely (comparative unlovelier, superlative unloveliest)

  1. unattractive, ugly
    • 1990, Seán Damer, Glasgow: Going for a Song (page 203)
      [] an ocean of dereliction, blackened tenements, public drunkenness, dozens of unlovely skyscrapers, featureless housing schemes. It was as if this was all that Glasgow deserved. And yet the city still had a lot of bazazz.
    • 2005, Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, HarperCollins, page 6 [1]:
      Even today Lambeth is a singularly unlovely part of the British capital, jammed anonymously between the great fan of roads and railway lines that take commuters in and out of the city center from the southern counties.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 404:
      Francis's own unlovely tunic, and that of his female colleague Clare, foundress of parallel communities for women, are lovingly preserved and displayed by the nuns of St Clare in Assisi []


unlovely (plural unlovelies)

  1. An unattractive or ugly thing or person.
    • 1982, United Press International, "Clearly, an ugly dog", 2 August.
      A hairless runt of a mutt named Chi-chi defeated them all in the 13th annual Ugliest Dog in the World contest: such unlovelies as the moth-eaten chow and the bulldog with a bad eye.
    • 1997 Sabina Sharkey, "Irish Cultural Studies and the Politics of Irish Studies", in Cultural Methodologies, edited by Jim McGuigan, SAGE, 1997, p. 156.
      But the uptake of Irish studies by a range of migrant unlovelies clearly involves their expressing a quality of interest in the subject distinguishable from the harmless "inherent interest" which she so values and which presumably is palpable to "anybody", other than them.
    • 2014, Betsy Sharkey, "Review: Any way you slice it, ‘Boxtrolls’ is an unwieldy visual feast", Los Angeles Times, 25 September.
      Many intriguing unlovelies are found in “The Boxtrolls,” a new 3-D animated fable that lifts liberally from the sketches and dark sensibility of Alan Snow’s creepy-good children’s novel “Here Be Monsters.”


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From un- +‎ lovely (adjective).

Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /unˈluv(ə)liː/, /unˈluv(ə)litʃ/


unlovely (rare)

  1. unattractive, ugly
  2. disagreeable, revolting
  • English: unlovely

Etymology 2[edit]

From un- +‎ lovely (adverb).

Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /unˈluv(ə)liː/, /unˈluv(ə)litʃ(ə)/



  1. (rare) disagreeably, foully