adj. un·seem·li·er, un·seem·li·est
1. Not in accord with accepted standards of decency or morality.
2. Not suited to the circumstances; inappropriate: took an unseemly amount of time to complete the project.
3. Unattractive; unsightly: "The point at which the walls of suburban houses meet the lawns is apparently unseemly and must be covered up with these stunted trees" (Amy Benson).
In an improper or inappropriate manner.
Synonyms: unseemly, improper, unbecoming, indelicate, indecent, indecorous
These adjectives mean not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper. What is unseemly reflects badly on one's manners or morals: an unseemly outburst; married in unseemly haste. Improper often refers to unethical conduct, a breach of etiquette, or morally offensive behavior: improper business practices; improper behavior at the dinner table. Unbecoming suggests what is beneath the standard implied by one's character or position: language unbecoming to an officer. Indelicate suggests immodesty, coarseness, or tactlessness: indelicate barnyard humor; an indelicate reference to the senator's family troubles. Indecent refers to what is considered crude or vulgar, especially with regard to sexual impropriety or sexually explicit material: an indecent proposal; indecent programming. Indecorous implies violation of propriety or decorum: an exposé of the author's indecorous past.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.