Not just dirty but somehow tainted. Leviticus is full of lists of unclean things, including red ants, semen, pigs and women one quarter of the time. Some form of ritual purification must be undertaken if you want to become clean again after having touched one of these, otherwise you don't just have bad juju but it's contagious - no one can touch you or sit in the same chair as you. Eep!

Un*clean" (?), a. [AS. unclne. See Unnot, and Clean.]

1.

Not clean; foul; dirty; filthy.

2.

Ceremonially impure; needing ritual cleansing.

He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. Num. xix. 11.

3.

Morally impure.

"Adultery of the heart, consisting of inordinate and unclean affections."

Perkins.

-- Un*clean"ly, adv. -- Un*clean"ness, n.

Unclean animals Script., those which the Israelites were forbidden to use for food. -- Unclean spirit Script., a wicked spirit; a demon. Mark i. 27.

 

© Webster 1913.

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