Definition of unholy in English:



  • 1Sinful; wicked.

    ‘a father killing his son is an act against nature—unholy and loathsome’
    • ‘We've dismissed it all as something below contempt, even evil, utterly unholy.’
    • ‘A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue.’
    • ‘A person feels a spark of holiness, has an inspiring experience, yearns momentarily for something more, but then does something unholy, or simply comes home and turns on the TV.’
    • ‘So he must be taken outside where all unholy things belong.’
    • ‘If we knew that some fixed percent, say fifty, would be saved, we would be caught in an unholy rivalry.’
    • ‘Any act or emotion can be holy or unholy, including love.’
    • ‘Shouldn't I put it in some dedicated space where it would not rub up against such unholy junk?’
    • ‘The inconsistencies of this unholy mix were only too clear.’
    • ‘The great question that confronts us all is: how can a holy and righteous God ever be reconciled to unholy and unrighteous sinners?’
    • ‘We are endowed by our Creator with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and to the extent that we choose wrong, we yield to the evil and unholy forces of barbarianism.’
    • ‘They were told of how these sinners writhed and danced to their wicked music in an unholy reverence to their false idol.’
    • ‘These are common tricks that are routinely conjured up by the conscience-hunters whose divine vocation it is to enlist mercenaries for their unholy schemes.’
    • ‘It was difficult for a man considering all kinds of violence sinful to conceive that there did exist some use for it in the universe which was not unholy and sacrilegious.’
    • ‘After this exhibition of my unholy uncertainties, you may be wondering what I'm leading to - or even why I'm a Christian at all.’
    • ‘I, a mostly irreligious person, felt unholy to tread upon a grain.’
    • ‘The yearning for peace is lost in the unholy belief that ‘might makes right.’’
    • ‘These are ominous signs of God's holiness and the threat of judgment to the unholy.’
    • ‘Is it time for us in the Church to say that splitting atoms is unholy work, work that even ‘at its best’ is inherently incapable of giving glory to the God who made heaven and earth?’
    • ‘Lack of self-esteem leads to unholy and false feelings of worthlessness.’
    ungodly, godless, irreligious, impious, blasphemous, sacrilegious, profane, heathen, pagan, atheistic, non-theistic, irreverent
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    1. 1.1 Unnatural and potentially harmful.
      ‘an unholy alliance between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry’
      • ‘The Russian people may kick and scream at this unholy alliance, but their opinion hardly matters when issues of strategic importance are at stake.’
      • ‘Since then, the Jamaican media has continued to develop its unholy alliance with the dancehall community, one now characterised by extreme homophobia and anti-law and order sentiments.’
      • ‘Describing the link between the two as ‘an unholy alliance,’ Judge Roger Scott said it had become ‘a worrying trend.’’
      • ‘Oppose the agenda, and you seem like part of an unholy alliance.’
      • ‘The importance of the unholy alliance between celebrity and magazine cannot be over-emphasized, with the latter feeding off celebrities while the former require the oxygen of publicity to survive.’
      • ‘This unholy alliance between radicalism and respectability was best embodied by Ahmed Ben Bella, who was the first president of Algeria in 1962 following the war of independence against France.’
      • ‘These laws were justified by an unholy alliance of liquor wholesalers, bricks-and-mortar retailers, and Prohibitionists as being necessary to keep booze out of the hands of minors.’
      • ‘There is now an unholy alliance between the media, some sections of the police force and witnesses who are prepared to sell their stories well in advance of any charges being brought.’
      • ‘He warms to his theme of the unholy alliance: ‘Let's go and sign a deal with Hitler, like Chamberlain.’’
      • ‘This circumstance seems to be the result of an unholy alliance between education schools, publishers, and state departments of education.’
      • ‘They can't expect anything better from this unholy alliance.’
      • ‘And what a crowd-puller such an unholy alliance makes.’
      • ‘This unholy alliance needs to be slapped aside.’
      • ‘AS IF Scotland did not have enough on its plate with an unholy alliance of political machinations and a spate of injuries bringing expectations to an all-time low, the national team must now face France in Paris first up.’
      • ‘And big business is often in an unholy alliance with bureaucrats and politicians who see a surveillance society as a quick fix for social and economic management problems.’
      • ‘How dispiriting it must be for young Scottish players as talented as Craig Gordon to see their prospects diminished by the unholy alliance of the media and the Old Firm-driven football establishment.’
      • ‘She shows that the austere Pope Urban, who slept on bare boards and did his best to free the church from its unholy alliance with the mercenaries, also had a cupboard filled with 1,080 ermine skins for his personal use.’
      • ‘Now I am not saying that the collapse of the family was the consequence of some sort of unholy alliance or conspiracy between feminists and radical free-marketeers.’
      • ‘And as a result, you really have this unholy alliance.’
      • ‘And therefore, I think this unholy alliance is coordinating its activities.’
      unnatural, discordant, incompatible, unusual, improbable
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    2. 1.2informal Used to emphasize how bad something is; dreadful.
      ‘she was making an unholy racket’
      • ‘And a bunch of kids, probably cadets or something, are standing in the middle of this unholy mess and holding up handwritten signs indicating which way to turn to get where.’
      • ‘The whole business is an unholy mess and at the base of it all is money.’
      • ‘The challenge comes in the form of bands walking through ‘enemy’ neighborhoods in the middle of the night and making an unholy racket.’
      • ‘Saw them at the Barfly last year and they made an unholy racket (in a bad way), hope they've tightened up since then.’
      • ‘They're sweet guys, and they look like college kids, but the boys in Mogwai make an unholy racket that is most pleasing to the ear.’
      • ‘No matter what side of the political spectrum that you sit on, this is an unholy mess.’
      • ‘What worries is when you try to describe it and you think, that does sound like an unholy mess.’
      • ‘In terms of regulation though, the world of bio-prospecting is an unholy mess.’
      • ‘The result was an unholy mess, with party nabobs muttering darkly about throwing the 71-year-old peer out of the Tories altogether.’
      • ‘On Saturday I had let Ralph outside and five minutes later he began to emit the unholy high-pitched yelping racket that signals that he has found some prey, and will now chase it out of the yard.’
      • ‘In the meantime, the frustration grows as people look out on an unholy mess that seems to have been there literally forever.’
      • ‘The government is now in an unholy mess, and in an untenable place.’
      • ‘There appear to be about twenty of them, and they make an unholy racket.’
      • ‘Craig Tannock, a key figure on Glasgow's music scene since the late 1980s, is more likely to turn talk to radical politics, vegan food and the joy of hearing inexperienced bands making an unholy racket.’
      • ‘The Angel's Share is an elegy for the old, unreconstructed island ways that have been all but decimated in the name of progress which, while making things a whole lot more efficient, left an unholy mess in its wake as well.’
      • ‘So, young Tony, come up to the blackboard and tell the children what you learned from that unholy mess.’
      • ‘The plot has been described as ‘an unholy, incoherent mess’, but the film is being hailed in some quarters as a work of genius.’
      • ‘In fact it is decidedly kickass unhilarious, as must surely have been obvious to all concerned as soon as principal photography began on this unholy mess.’
      • ‘How can he get himself, the Americans, oh yes, and us, out of this unholy mess?’
      • ‘So this house is where there were stones flung on the roof every night, making an unholy racket and spooking the family inside.’
      shocking, dreadful, outrageous, appalling, terrible, horrifying, horrendous, horrific, frightful
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Old English unhālig (see un-, holy).