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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English unsemli, probably a partial calque of Old Norse úsǽmiligr (unseemly); equivalent to un- +‎ seemly. Cognate with Icelandic ósæmileg (offensive), Norwegian usømmelig (unseemly), Danish usømmeligt (unseemly).


unseemly (comparative unseemlier, superlative unseemliest)

  1. Inconsistent with established standards of good form or taste.
    He was drunk and made some very unseemly comments.
    • An unseemly outbreak of temper.
    • 1958, Anthony Burgess, The Enemy in the Blanket (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 379:
      Many men, women and children, clothed in bright raiment for the Sabbath, saw with a faint flicker of interest and surprise a very white man on a trishaw, and the driver pedalling with unseemly haste.
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      [I]n the 575 days since [Oscar] Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, there has been an unseemly scramble to construct revisionist histories, to identify evidence beneath that placid exterior of a pugnacious, hair-trigger personality.


Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]


unseemly (comparative more unseemly, superlative most unseemly)

  1. In an unseemly manner.