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a. Not in accordance with what usually occurs in nature: a tree with an unnatural shape.
b. Not included in nature; artificial: detergents and other unnatural chemicals.
a. Deviating from a behavioral or social norm: a child's unnatural attachment to a doll.
b. Brutal or unfeeling: unnatural cruelty.
3. Stilted, affected, or awkward: an unnatural smile.

un·nat′u·ral·ly adv.
un·nat′u·ral·ness n.



against the grain In opposition to one’s basic temperament, against one’s will. In this expression grain refers to the direction of the fibers in wood. Planing across the natural direction of the fibers is difficult. By analogy, the grain has come to mean the human disposition or will, as exemplified in the following:

… and that your minds,
Pre-occupied with what you rather must do
Than what you should made you against the grain
To voice him consul.
(Shakespeare, Coriolanus, II, iii)

A second explanation is that the phrase came from the French contre le gré ‘against the will,’ partially translated into English as against the gré, and so used by Samuel Pepys in his Diary.

fish out of water A person not in his regular environment; one working in a job unrelated to his chosen profession; someone who is restless, fidgety, or discontented because of his surroundings. A fish taken out of water begins flopping about in a desperate attempt to return to its natural habitat. Eventually, the lack of its regular environment kills the fish. Thus, a person who is restless or uncomfortable because of strange surroundings is often likened to a fish out of water.

a square peg in a round hole A person whose job is completely unsuited for him; a person who attempts a project or undertaking which is incompatible with his skills and background; also, a round peg in a square hole. This self-explanatory expression retains frequent use today.

Was there ever a more glaring case of square peg in round hole and round peg in square? (Westminster Gazette, December, 1901)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.unnaturalness - the quality of being unnatural or not based on natural principlesunnaturalness - the quality of being unnatural or not based on natural principles
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
affectedness - the quality of being false or artificial (as to impress others)
artificiality - the quality of being produced by people and not occurring naturally
pretentiousness, pretension, largeness - the quality of being pretentious (behaving or speaking in such a manner as to create a false appearance of great importance or worth)
supernaturalness, supernaturalism - the quality of being attributed to power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces
naturalness - the quality of being natural or based on natural principles; "he accepted the naturalness of death"; "the spontaneous naturalness of his manner"


References in classic literature ?
The unnaturalness of her crime stood out the more harshly by the side of her hard immovability and obstinate silence.
L'amour which the Frenchman worshiped consisted principally in the unnaturalness of his relation to the woman and in a combination of incongruities giving the chief charm to the feeling.
And the consciousness of this unnaturalness, and the remorse he felt at it, made him even more unnatural.
The overstatement of these conventions underlines the unnaturalness of what is required to produce normality.
European attributions to women of African descent of an inherent sexual immorality, contentedness with the role of breeder, sexual insatiability and unnaturalness in their urges, and animal-like strength that suited them to "work in the fields all day and then work in bed all night" (38) are key parts of oppressive discourses that historically shaped and contemporaneously inform the lived experience of Afra-Caribbean women.
Forced to negotiate this unnaturalness, disorder and problems in living in African populations are generated.
Their sensuously skin-like surfaces are in tension with the taut perfection of their conceptual unnaturalness as they personify figures of faith or myth.
Diaz's comparisons of Trujillo to Sauron, for example, seem clearly to fall into the second category, and readers see Trujillo's unnaturalness as thematic commentaries on the range and extent of his power.
Does it speak to some deep resistance to, some discomfort with, the bad voice of Dylan, of Carole King, with what's now generations of the forced, constructed unnaturalness of punk singing, from Dylan to Johnny Rotten to Kim Gordon to Kathleen Hanna?
He calls attention to the implicit monstrosity of the Indian Boy himself and the sheer unnaturalness of Titania's obsession with him.
Several French women artists have made this division between sex and gender a pivotal aspect of their work; problematising woman's body and often eclipsing it entirely, leaving behind a very obviously artificial construct to highlight the unnaturalness of gender, of femininity.
These are not judgments about the unnaturalness, perversity, or deviance of acts in a secularly biological or medical sense of those behaviors constituting unsuccessful adaptations by reference to either inclusive fitness or personal fulfillment.