Definition of unworldly in English:



  • 1(of a person) not having much awareness of the realities of life, in particular, not motivated by material or practical considerations.

    ‘she was so shrewd in some ways, but hopelessly unworldly in others’
    • ‘His barrister said he was naive and unworldly and had his first sexual experience when he was 34.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is frequently cast in intelligent, odd and somewhat unworldly characters for the very good reason that he does them so well.’
    • ‘Could it be that, beneath their veneer of unworldly innocence, they're all secretly gagging for it?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Far from the stereotypical businessman exploiting unworldly people, he had a refined appreciation for both silk production and the Thai way of life.’
    • ‘How could such an unworldly clamour be tolerated?’
    • ‘Those unworldly concepts have resulted in American personnel and resources being committed to U.N. operations far removed from vital American interest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His eldest son is a simple, unworldly soldier, who has lived most of his life in India.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Easier to blame the unworldly bureaucrats in Whitehall or Brussels than recognise, never mind grapple with, the underlying tendencies to economic atrophy.’
    • ‘A timeless and unworldly quality, unaffected by the flux of material life, was sought, for which unchanging models served successfully.’
    • ‘But his unworldly innocence disguises his disregard for the real social consequences of his actions.’
    • ‘Would this lead me to be suspected as one of those apparently unworldly people who don't ‘get it’?’
    • ‘He was unworldly, but he was building an impressive record collection and read the New Musical Express from cover to cover, each week.’
    • ‘His widow, a founder member of the company, would take the part of the unworldly land-owner Ranyevskaya.’
    • ‘Despite her independence and academic brilliance, she is naive and unworldly and her choices are terrifying.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not seeming to belong to this planet; strange.
      ‘the unworldly monolith loomed four stories high’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From now on, the notion of an unworldly pontiff belongs at best to magic-realist fiction.’
      • ‘The light in these building's windows becomes something other than itself, a differentiated and unworldly color, defined by the imagination.’
      • ‘He is an expert magician who specializes in debunking those who use magic techniques to claim psychic or otherwise unworldly powers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Church was the place where music was a means of ‘spirit possession’, a quality hinted at in some of Gaye's unworldly vocal tapestries.’
      • ‘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.’
      unearthly, other-worldly, extraterrestrial, ethereal, ghostly, spectral, phantom, preternatural, supernatural, paranormal, mystical, transcendent, numinous
      View synonyms