un·​kempt | \ ˌən-ˈkem(p)t How to pronounce unkempt (audio) \

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

Gruff but ultimately affable, with gray curls and an unkempt goatee, Erwin has the build and demeanor of a retired football player. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Awe-Inspiring Canadian Rockies Camping Adventure," 22 Jan. 2018 While Sanders' unkempt hair is seen as a fun trademark, Hillary Clinton’s signature coif was enough to infuriate some people, like Martin Shekreli, whose comments on it got him thrown in jail. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bernie Sanders' Sexism Problem," 27 Feb. 2019 His face is turned toward her but covered by unkempt brown hair. Vogue, "Fifty Shades of Grey," 24 Jan. 2019 Anthony Garcia appeared disheveled, with a heavy beard and unkempt hair, when he was wheeled into a Douglas County courtroom in a wheelchair. Washington Post, "Attorneys seek to spare ex-doctor from death for 4 slayings," 13 June 2018 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

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

9 May 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 How to pronounce unkempt (audio) \

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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