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1. Distasteful or disagreeable: an unsavory task.
2. Not savory: an unsavory meal.
3. Morally offensive: an unsavory scandal.

un·sa′vor·i·ly adv.
un·sa′vor·i·ness n.


(ʌnˈseɪ və ri)

1. not savory; tasteless or insipid: an unsavory meal.
2. unpleasant in taste or smell; distasteful.
3. unappealing or disagreeable, as a pursuit or task.
4. socially or morally objectionable or offensive: an unsavory past.
Also, esp. Brit.,un•sa′vour•y.
un•sa′vor•i•ly, adv.
un•sa′vor•i•ness, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.unsavory - morally offensiveunsavory - morally offensive; "an unsavory reputation"; "an unsavory scandal"
savory, savoury - morally wholesome or acceptable; "a past that was scarcely savory"
2.unsavory - not pleasing in odor or tasteunsavory - not pleasing in odor or taste  
unpalatable - not pleasant or acceptable to the taste or mind; "an unpalatable meal"; "unpalatable truths"; "unpalatable behavior"


1. Lacking an appetizing flavor:
2. So unpleasant in flavor as to be inedible:
References in classic literature ?
When not more profitably employed, the sperm whale hunters sometimes capture the Hyena whale, to keep up the supply of cheap oil for domestic employment --as some frugal housekeepers, in the absence of company, and quite alone by themselves, burn unsavory tallow instead of odorous wax.
It may well be conceived, what an unsavory odor such a mass must exhale; worse than an Assyrian city in the plague, when the living are incompetent to bury the departed.
For a long, hot, gaunt month he and his little troop had scoured the places of the desert waste in search of a band of marauders to the sin-stained account of which were charged innumerable thefts of camels, horses, and goats, as well as murders enough to have sent the whole unsavory gang to the guillotine several times over.
Indeed, though Indians are generally very lofty, rhetorical, and figurative in their language at all great talks, and high ceremonials, yet, if trappers and traders may be believed, they are the most unsavory vagabonds in their ordinary colloquies; they make no hesitation to call a spade a spade; and when they once undertake to call hard names, the famous pot and kettle, of vituperating memory, are not to be compared with them for scurrility of epithet.
The cup is small, it is smeared with grounds; the coffee is black, thick, unsavory of smell, and execrable in taste.
Sabor proved unsavory eating even to Tarzan of the Apes, but hunger served as a most efficacious disguise to toughness and rank taste, and ere long, with well-filled stomach, the ape-man was ready to sleep again.
Again partaking of a few mouthfuls of the unsavory flesh of Ska, the vulture, the ape-man arose with something of his old force and set out with steady gait toward the hills of promise rising alluringly ahead.
Simon de Montfort was no man to mince words, and it is doubtless that the old reprobate who sued for his daughter's hand heard some unsavory truths from the man who had twice scandalized England's nobility by his rude and discourteous, though true and candid, speeches to the King.
Private excavations are taking place--if our readers will pardon us the unsavory allusion--at the dust-heap, of all places in the world
Why did you enter this place of unsavory reputations?
Yet throughout the rest of his life Pope continued with keen delight to work the unsavory production over and to bring out new editions.
Pursuing his course, he entered the labyrinth of streets which led, in that quarter of East London, to the unsavory neighborhood of the river-side.