slov·​en·​ly | \ ˈslə-vən-lē also ˈslä- How to pronounce slovenly (audio) \

Definition of slovenly

1a : untidy especially in personal appearance
b : lazily slipshod slovenly in thought
2 : characteristic of a sloven slovenly habits

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Other Words from slovenly

slovenliness noun
slovenly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for slovenly


blowsy (also blowzy), dowdy, frowsy (or frowzy), slobbish, slobby, sloppy, sloven, unkempt, untidy


dapper, dashing, dolled up, sharp, smart, spruce

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Examples of slovenly in a Sentence

He dressed in a slovenly manner. for the sake of their image, the band members transformed themselves from clean-cut lads to slovenly rockers

Recent Examples on the Web

Still wounded by his father’s betrayal, Zach dresses like a homeless person, lives in a slovenly rat trap of an apartment with two dogs, and speaks with good-humored, obscenity-laced bitterness about the past. Peter Keough,, "In Focus: Back to a future that didn’t go according to plan," 20 June 2019 One example concerns a particularly slovenly soldier. Robert Chandler, The New Yorker, "How the Soviet Literary Establishment Censored Vasily Grossman," 19 June 2019 Be a little slovenly in the garden; leave some old broken stems and let a little bare dirt show. Hannah Nordhaus, WSJ, "‘Buzz’ and ‘Our Native Bees’ Review: Give Bees a Chance," 12 July 2018 People think junkies and alcoholics are slovenly, unmotivated people. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Simon Pegg opens up about his struggle with alcoholism and recovery: 'It was just terrible'," 10 July 2018 Christopher Oram has designed a picturesque, if slovenly, storybook cottage of a set. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 The stiff-legged chair and shapeless pillow combine to suggest a slovenly human form. Robert Campbell,, "Looking at architecture from the inside out," 10 May 2018 Yet sweatpants seem too slovenly for everyday wear. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Can Men Wear Sweatpants to a Fancy Party Now?," 1 May 2018 From Brooklyn hipsters to the nice people of Dallas, who desperately want to be perceived as urban sophisticates, the new uniform is simply a more comfortable replacement (more slovenly, many would say) for the old uniform. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Devil May Care," 10 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slovenly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of slovenly

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for slovenly

Last Updated

30 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for slovenly

The first known use of slovenly was circa 1568

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More Definitions for slovenly



English Language Learners Definition of slovenly

: messy or untidy
: done in a careless way


slov·​en·​ly | \ ˈslə-vən-lē How to pronounce slovenly (audio) \

Kids Definition of slovenly

1 : personally untidy
2 : very careless

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More from Merriam-Webster on slovenly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for slovenly

Spanish Central: Translation of slovenly

Nglish: Translation of slovenly for Spanish Speakers

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