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

  • adjective Sounding harsh to the ear; dissonant.
  • adjective Not skilled or interested in music.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not musical; not harmonious or melodious; not pleasing to the ear.
  • Not skilled in or fond of music: as, unmusical people.

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

  • adjective Not musical: lacking in musical ability.
  • adjective Not musical: unmelodic.

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

  • adjective lacking melody
  • adjective not musical in nature
  • adjective lacking interest in or talent for music


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word unmusical.


  • QUOTATION: A name unmusical to the Volscians’ ears,

    Quotations 1919

  • The contrast within the Scripture of the musical and the unmusical is a very marked one.

    The Greatest English Classic 1912

  • I'm not a very good singer and I am not completely "unmusical," but I am close.

    Greg Archer: What's Next for Next to Normal? Greg Archer 2011

  • I'm not a very good singer and I am not completely "unmusical," but I am close.

    Greg Archer: What's Next for Next to Normal? Greg Archer 2011

  • Dismissing what you don't like as being somehow bad for music or "unmusical" whatever the hell that means is unbelievably petty and pointless.

    The Guitar Superdork Returns 2005

  • It owes its origin to a bygone custom of the town, of serenading widows on the evening of their second marriage, with drums, trumpets, kettles, and every kind of unmusical instrument that could be pressed into the service of the uproarious ceremony.

    The Argosy Vol. 51, No. 5, May, 1891 Various

  • The gradations, too, are here quite as great as in mathematics or pictorial art, and the special faculty of the great musical composer must be reckoned many hundreds or perhaps thousands of times greater than that of the ordinary "unmusical" person above referred to.

    Darwinism (1889) Alfred Russel Wallace 1868

  • Indeed, there was no dancing in the early part of the evening; it was rather a musical company, and Betty's favourite amusement was often interrupted; for the music was too good, and the people present too well-bred, to allow of that jumble of sounds musical and unmusical which is so distressing, and alas! not so rare.

    A Red Wallflower Susan Warner 1852

  • In a spontaneous competition for music directors present at the awards, Javed Akhtar gave them an 'unmusical' verse to compose on IPL and the general elections.

    The Times of India 2009

  • Anything that can allow those that feel "unmusical" to create interesting new sounds and pieces is a good thing-I've seen far too many students balk at the keyboard or other traditional instruments, since they

    Music, Technology and Education: 2008


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.