adjective un·even \ ˌən-ˈē-vən \
Updated on: 2 Feb 2018

Definition of uneven

1 a archaic : unequal 1a
b : odd 3a
2 a : not even : not level or smooth : rugged, ragged
  • large uneven teeth
  • uneven handwriting
b : varying from the straight or parallel
c : not uniform : irregular
  • uneven combustion
d : varying in quality
  • an uneven performance
3 : unequal 3a
  • an uneven confrontation




play \ˌən-ˈē-və(n)-nəs\ noun

Examples of uneven in a Sentence

  1. His breathing was shallow and uneven.

  2. You should check your car's tires often for signs of uneven wear.

  3. an uneven distribution of wealth

  4. We have an uneven number of players, so we'll have to rotate.

Recent Examples of uneven from the Web

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

First Known Use of uneven

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of uneven

rough, harsh, uneven, rugged, scabrous mean not smooth or even. rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface.
    • a rough wooden board
harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch.
    • a harsh fabric that chafes the skin
uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality.
    • an old house with uneven floors
rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel.
    • a rugged landscape
scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface.
    • a scabrous leaf

UNEVEN Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of uneven for English Language Learners

  • : not level, flat, or smooth

  • : not straight or parallel

  • : not following a regular pattern : not the same in all parts or at all times

UNEVEN Defined for Kids


adjective un·even \ ˌən-ˈē-vən \

Definition of uneven for Students

1 : odd 3
  • uneven numbers
2 : not level, straight, or smooth
  • an uneven surface
3 : irregular 4
  • uneven breathing
4 : varying in quality
  • an uneven performance
5 : unequal 2
  • an uneven competition


  • The board was cut unevenly.



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having a quality expressive of sadness

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