from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having or showing little understanding of the ways of the world; naive or impractical.
  • adjective Not of this world; spiritual or supernatural.
  • adjective Suggestive of another world, as in being bizarre or eerie.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not worldly; not influenced by worldly or sordid motives; spiritual.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not worldly; spiritual; holy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or relating to the spiritual as opposed to the material.
  • adjective Unconcerned with secular matters.
  • adjective Lacking sophistication.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective not concerned with the temporal world or swayed by mundane considerations
  • adjective not wise in the ways of the world


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • I suppose you don't principles. business on what you call unworldly principles.

    Middlemarch: a study of provincial life (1900) 1871

  • I suppose you don't conduct business on what you call unworldly principles.

    Middlemarch 1871

  • I suppose you don't conduct business on what you call unworldly principles.

    Middlemarch George Eliot 1849

  • Careful about vocabulary. 'unworldly' means 'innocent' or 'naive', not 'unearthly' or 'otherworldly', which is what I think you intended to convey.

    HH Com 576 Miss Snark 2006

  • Mr. Bloomfield bore himself with a kind of unworldly grace, and Mr.. Bloomfield with a kind of sweet primness.

    Adela Cathcart, Volume 1 George MacDonald 1864

  • A separation of investment banking arms from retail operations may be the only way out of the current 'unworldly' situation where taxpayers have to pick up the tab when institutions get into trouble, said King.

    Daily Financial News 2009

  • In fact, so important is this way of thinking to our lives, so powerful is it, and so strange - just think about it for a moment, it really is a most "unworldly" and unnatural, somewhat stilted way of thinking - that it surely must be taught to every living person.

    MAA Column - Devlin's Angle by Keith Devlin 2008

  • "unworldly" and though the forms thereof in the two only partially coincide.

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 To the Close of the 19th Century George Saintsbury 1889

  • She looked up at him with those unworldly eyes, and a chill swept him.

    Crimson Wind Diana Pharaoh Francis 2011

  • It is argued by the proponents of the "big society" that an invasion of unworldly, civic-minded volunteers will, on the contrary, revive services made remote and sullen by the state.

    Do we really want to be policed by hobby bobbies? Catherine Bennett 2010


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