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From Middle English unsemli, probably from a partial translation 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.
    • Nathaniel Hawthorne
      An unseemly outbreak of temper.
    • 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]”[1], The Daily Telegraph (Sport):
      [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.


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