Definition of unworldly in US 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’
    • ‘Far from the stereotypical businessman exploiting unworldly people, he had a refined appreciation for both silk production and the Thai way of life.’
    • ‘His eldest son is a simple, unworldly soldier, who has lived most of his life in India.’
    • ‘His barrister said he was naive and unworldly and had his first sexual experience when he was 34.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A timeless and unworldly quality, unaffected by the flux of material life, was sought, for which unchanging models served successfully.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But his unworldly innocence disguises his disregard for the real social consequences of his actions.’
    • ‘He was unworldly, but he was building an impressive record collection and read the New Musical Express from cover to cover, each week.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How could such an unworldly clamour be tolerated?’
    • ‘Easier to blame the unworldly bureaucrats in Whitehall or Brussels than recognise, never mind grapple with, the underlying tendencies to economic atrophy.’
    • ‘He is frequently cast in intelligent, odd and somewhat unworldly characters for the very good reason that he does them so well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Critics say he is too unworldly even to understand the hurt he has caused Maori.’
    • ‘Would this lead me to be suspected as one of those apparently unworldly people who don't ‘get it’?’
    • ‘Could it be that, beneath their veneer of unworldly innocence, they're all secretly gagging for it?’
    • ‘His widow, a founder member of the company, would take the part of the unworldly land-owner Ranyevskaya.’
    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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    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From now on, the notion of an unworldly pontiff belongs at best to magic-realist fiction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He is an expert magician who specializes in debunking those who use magic techniques to claim psychic or otherwise unworldly powers.’
      • ‘Church was the place where music was a means of ‘spirit possession’, a quality hinted at in some of Gaye's unworldly vocal tapestries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The light in these building's windows becomes something other than itself, a differentiated and unworldly color, defined by the imagination.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      unearthly, other-worldly, extraterrestrial, ethereal, ghostly, spectral, phantom, preternatural, supernatural, paranormal, mystical, transcendent, numinous
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