Definition of unworldly in English:



  • 1(of a person) having little awareness of the practicalities of life; unmotivated by material considerations.

    ‘a pedantic, unworldly boffin’
    • ‘His eldest son is a simple, unworldly soldier, who has lived most of his life in India.’
    • ‘Despite her independence and academic brilliance, she is naive and unworldly and her choices are terrifying.’
    • ‘Those unworldly concepts have resulted in American personnel and resources being committed to U.N. operations far removed from vital American interest.’
    • ‘Surely Ross is not so naive and unworldly as to not know that practically every publication on the planet has some form of selection criteria for advertising.’
    • ‘What is significant and rather curious about this otherwise slight prologue is the relative normality of the space being explored compared to the buffoonishly unworldly figure of the intruder.’
    • ‘His widow, a founder member of the company, would take the part of the unworldly land-owner Ranyevskaya.’
    • ‘His fruitcake theory was Cambridge people were clever but isolated and unworldly, believing what they thought was right took precedence over any duty to their country.’
    • ‘How could such an unworldly clamour be tolerated?’
    • ‘His barrister said he was naive and unworldly and had his first sexual experience when he was 34.’
    • ‘He was unworldly, but he was building an impressive record collection and read the New Musical Express from cover to cover, each week.’
    • ‘But his unworldly innocence disguises his disregard for the real social consequences of his actions.’
    • ‘Critics say he is too unworldly even to understand the hurt he has caused Maori.’
    • ‘What came out of their mouths were words to the effect that ‘white trash’ referred to those white individuals who were stupid, unsophisticated, ignorant, poor, and perhaps unworldly.’
    • ‘Could it be that, beneath their veneer of unworldly innocence, they're all secretly gagging for it?’
    • ‘He is frequently cast in intelligent, odd and somewhat unworldly characters for the very good reason that he does them so well.’
    • ‘A timeless and unworldly quality, unaffected by the flux of material life, was sought, for which unchanging models served successfully.’
    • ‘Everything about him seemed to emphasize how unreachable he would prove to be for a fatherless, penniless, unworldly girl like me, but something in his eyes told me that I had affected him in a way that was not completely unfavorable.’
    • ‘Easier to blame the unworldly bureaucrats in Whitehall or Brussels than recognise, never mind grapple with, the underlying tendencies to economic atrophy.’
    • ‘Far from the stereotypical businessman exploiting unworldly people, he had a refined appreciation for both silk production and the Thai way of life.’
    • ‘Would this lead me to be suspected as one of those apparently unworldly people who don't ‘get it’?’
    naive, simple, inexperienced, innocent, green, raw, callow, immature, uninitiated, natural, unaffected, unsophisticated, gullible, born yesterday, ingenuous, artless, guileless, childlike, trusting, credulous, idealistic
    non-materialistic, non-material, immaterial
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  • 2Not seeming to belong to this planet; strange.

    ‘an almost unworldly stillness’
    • ‘From now on, the notion of an unworldly pontiff belongs at best to magic-realist fiction.’
    • ‘This paradoxical blend of the practical and the unworldly lends depth and texture to his best work, but it was a volatile mix and didn't always work.’
    • ‘He did not know where he was, but despite his strange surroundings and the unworldly heat and glaze, he could tell he was still in a prison.’
    • ‘The cheapness of his productions allows another of Franco's gifts to flourish - his ability to transform real, undressed settings into unworldly zones of mystery simply by virtue of his eye for atmospheric detail.’
    • ‘In many ways, the samurai ethos has become the norm in American cinema, though we are more likely to accept it if the hero is armed with a six-shooter instead of a katana of unworldly quality.’
    • ‘Church was the place where music was a means of ‘spirit possession’, a quality hinted at in some of Gaye's unworldly vocal tapestries.’
    • ‘The light in these building's windows becomes something other than itself, a differentiated and unworldly color, defined by the imagination.’
    • ‘Beyond it lies another world, quite unlike the one on bustling Queen West, a serene, unworldly oasis of miniature food, quaint dishes and exotic teas.’
    • ‘What I have called the numinous, meaning the presence of the unworldly or the metaphysical, more accurately the presence of elevated religious feelings, will intrude under certain circumstances.’
    • ‘The absence of a World Series ring is the last, the only blemish on a career that has climbed from the exceptional to the unworldly.’
    • ‘He is an expert magician who specializes in debunking those who use magic techniques to claim psychic or otherwise unworldly powers.’
    unearthly, other-worldly, extraterrestrial, ethereal, ghostly, spectral, phantom, preternatural, supernatural, paranormal, mystical, transcendent, numinous
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