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

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 Kaczynski was described as an unkempt loner in the sleepy mountain town who ate rabbits, lived without power and rode his bike to the town’s library. Fox News, 31 July 2022 With a mop of unkempt hair and a penchant for elegant double-breasted suits, Souki didn’t look the part of a Houston wildcatter. New York Times, 6 July 2022 One that also includes a dirty toilet and an unkempt bed. Andy Meek, BGR, 13 July 2022 In contrast, grunge — the unkempt, punk-rock, socially progressive answer to rock ’n’ roll decadence — was just beginning to bubble up in the Pacific Northwest, and would soon make headway in the Top 40. Suzy Expositostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2022 This era of the Rolling Stones is the look every band strived for less than a decade later, when every unwashed reprobate on the Sunset Strip embraced the unkempt hair look that turned into glam rock. Tim Moffatt, EW.com, 10 June 2022 The studio compound was green, rustic, and artfully unkempt. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 The ground is covered with leaf litter and a tangle of seemingly unkempt shrubs; in late spring, deciduous plants are in various stages of wilting and dying as other plants are preparing to bloom. Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 Diary pages are properly wrinkled to look aged or unkempt. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 17 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unkempt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unkempt. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for unkempt


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

More from Merriam-Webster on unkempt

Nglish: Translation of unkempt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unkempt for Arabic Speakers


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