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From Middle English untymely (also earlier untimliche), equivalent to un- +‎ timely. First attested in the early 13th century.[1][2] Compare Middle Danish utimelig, Old English untídlic (unreasonable).[3]



untimely (comparative untimelier or more untimely, superlative untimeliest or most untimely)

  1. At an inopportune time.
    Synonyms: inopportune; see also Thesaurus:untimely
    Antonyms: timely, opportune, on time, to time; see also Thesaurus:punctual
    untimely remarks
  2. Early; premature.
    Synonyms: early, premature; see also Thesaurus:premature
    Antonyms: late, tardy; see also Thesaurus:overdue
    an untimely death
    • c. 1779–81, Samuel Johnson, “Savage”, in The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, volume 3, published 1794:
      The heroes of literary as well as civil history have been very often no less remarkable for what they have suffered, than for what they have atchieved[sic]; and volumes have been written only to enumerate the miseries of the learned, and relate their unhappy lives, and untimely deaths.
    • 1898, Florence Earle Coates, Before the Hour:
      Untimely blossom! Poor, impatient thing, / ⁠That, starting rashly from the sheltering mould, / ⁠Bravest the peevish wind and sullen cold, / ⁠Mistaking thine own ardors for the spring


Derived terms[edit]


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untimely (comparative more untimely, superlative most untimely)

  1. Prematurely.



  1. ^ untīmelī, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ untīmelī, adv.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “untimely”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.