un·​kempt | \ ˌən-ˈkem(p)t \

Definition of unkempt

1 : not combed unkempt hair
2 : deficient in order or neatness unkempt individuals unkempt hotel rooms also : rough, unpolished unkempt prose

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Examples of unkempt in a Sentence

She wore rumpled clothing and her hair was unkempt. an unkempt and cluttered room

Recent Examples on the Web

The study was tested in six different locations, but Vohs found that the type of room participants worked in did not matter—the environment just had to be unkempt to result in a difference in behavior. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "This New Study Offers a Good Excuse Not to Straighten Up That Messy Room," 30 Apr. 2015 The winter winds may be kicking up around the country, but several of this week's best beauty Instagrams offered an antidote to unkempt glamour in the form of not-one-hair-astray sleek. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Hailey Bieber Thinks Pink (and More!)," 9 Dec. 2018 But higher prices and unkempt stores eventually turned off customers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "How Sears Lost Its Mojo," 12 Oct. 2018 Like virtually all vineyards in Bierzo, Palacios’s vines grow en vaso, or in low, unkempt bushes, making hand-picking a requirement. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to Spanish Wine Country," 7 Mar. 2018 Moneyed hair is why Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s hair looks bohemian rather than unkempt. Veronica Walsingham, SELF, "Growing Up With Less Money Than My Friends Made Me Obsessed With Having Wealthy-Looking Hair," 15 Nov. 2018 And in May, a black firefighter was on the job inspecting the Oakland hills for the wild and unkempt vegetation that feeds ravenous fires when he was reported to police. SFChronicle.com, "We should think deeply about the Alison Ettel viral video — and why it matters," 28 June 2018 Seated on a stage in the chapel were a number of veterans, among them a wiry man with an unkempt brown beard who sat with his eyes closed and his hands folded in his lap. New York Times, "The Wounds of the Drone Warrior," 13 June 2018 Davidson isn’t the perfect avatar of this unkempt, skate-forward moment in streetwear. Kenzie Bryant, Vanities, "Pete Davidson and the Rise of the Scumbro," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unkempt.' 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 unkempt

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for unkempt

Middle English unkemd, unkempt, from un- + kembed, kempt, past participle of kemben to comb, from Old English cemban; akin to Old High German chempen to comb, Old English camb comb — more at comb

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Statistics for unkempt

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for unkempt

The first known use of unkempt was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of unkempt

: not neat or orderly : messy or untidy


un·​kempt | \ ˌən-ˈkempt \

Kids Definition of unkempt

1 : not combed unkempt hair
2 : not neat and orderly : untidy an unkempt room

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More from Merriam-Webster on unkempt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unkempt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unkempt

Spanish Central: Translation of unkempt

Nglish: Translation of unkempt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unkempt for Arabic Speakers

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