When something isn't appropriate or justified, you can describe it as undue. For example, an undue delay in a hospital waiting room can be dangerous for someone with a bad injury.

Something that's undue isn't warranted or, often, fair. The phrase "undue delay" is a common one, and it means that someone has to wait way too long for something, whether it's a building permit or a dentist appointment. The adjective has come to mean "excessive," from its original definition in the fourteenth century as literally "not owing" or "not payable."

Definitions of undue
  1. adjective
    not appropriate or proper (or even legal) in the circumstances
    undue influence”
    “I didn't want to show undue excitement”
    “accused of using undue force”
    see moresee less
    suitable to or expected in the circumstances
  2. adjective
    lacking justification or authorization
    “desire for undue private profit”
    synonyms: unjustified, unwarranted
    not reasonable; not showing good judgment
  3. adjective
    beyond normal limits
    “his dress stops just short of undue elegance”
    synonyms: excessive, inordinate, unreasonable
    beyond reasonable limits
  4. adjective
    not yet payable
    “an undue loan”
    see moresee less
    owed and payable immediately or on demand
    subject to a demand for payment before due date
    cod, collect
    payable by the recipient on delivery
    collectable, collectible, payable
    subject to or requiring payment especially as specified
    delinquent, overdue
    past due; not paid at the scheduled time
    awaiting payment
    calling for the spending of cash
    subject to repayment
    show more antonyms...
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week