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[uhn-hohl-suh m] /ʌnˈhoʊl səm/
not wholesome; unhealthful; deleterious to health or physical or moral well-being:
unwholesome food; unwholesome activities.
not sound in health; unhealthy, especially in appearance; suggestive of disease:
an unwholesome pallor.
Origin of unwholesome
1150-1200; Middle English; see un-1, wholesome
Related forms
unwholesomely, adverb
unwholesomeness, noun
1. insalubrious, noxious, pernicious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unwholesome
  • Such a drastic and far-reaching policy had to have unwholesome repercussions upon the population framework.
  • Others solely cram in decaying and unwholesome squats where eking out a descent living is as tough as finding out a balanced life.
  • Plants will be responsible for preventing meat and poultry that are unsafe or unwholesome from entering the food supply.
  • In addition to the moral failures underscored, the report reveals unwholesome social policy trends.
  • Investigates law violations, including sales of unwholesome or misbranded meat.
  • To eliminate nuisance or unwholesome influences in the neighborhood.
  • Sick animals, or animals that have died of illness or unknown causes are considered unwholesome and must not be used for food.
British Dictionary definitions for unwholesome


detrimental to physical or mental health: an unwholesome climate
morally harmful or depraved: unwholesome practices
indicative of illness, esp in appearance
(esp of food) of inferior quality
Derived Forms
unwholesomely, adverb
unwholesomeness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unwholesome

c.1200, from un- (1) "not" + wholesome. Cf. Flemish onheylsaem, German unheilsam, Old Norse uheilsamr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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