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 Customers in masks, chomping at the bit to get their unkempt mops tamed, lingered inside. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "197 minutes: Hoosiers face long waits as many quick-service salons, barbershops reopen," 11 May 2020 Sandstrom’s most recent Squonk is a hairy, wart-covered monster with bristly, unkempt fur, fangs, and ears that curve down submissively. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Artist Karen Sandstrom posts illustrations during pandemic to share whimsy, joy and wonder," 19 Apr. 2020 Celebrities like Blake Shelton and Pink have taken extreme measures to try and spice up their unkempt manes. Omar Sanchez, EW.com, "Armie Hammer is morphing into Joe Exotic during quarantine and we're not okay," 15 Apr. 2020 Her parents’ house was unkempt from the weeks of immobilizing illness and the hasty departure for the hospital. NBC News, "They did everything together, until the end: A mother and daughter's coronavirus battle," 28 Apr. 2020 With most people now going on three or four weeks of self-isolation to quell the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), our hair is growing increasingly wild and unkempt. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Virtual Barbers Are Here to Help Us Out of a Hairy Situation," 8 Apr. 2020 Sometimes, too, the grounds outside the house briefly look different, unkempt and neglected. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "First published in 1924, ‘Still She Wished for Company’ makes for a delicious, if bittersweet Valentine’s Day treat," 12 Feb. 2020 But few officials are prepared to answer for its unkempt condition; the council responsible for municipal services did not answer repeated emails and calls. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "A Climbing Ban at Uluru Ends a Chapter. But There’s More to This Australian Story.," 25 Oct. 2019 Police who responded to the home noticed the children appeared to be unwashed and unkempt with several bug bites on their legs, WPTV reported. Fox News, "Florida kids home alone: Mother, grandmother arrested after girl tosses knife injuring boy, investigators say," 23 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for unkempt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unkempt

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unkempt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unkempt. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for unkempt


How to pronounce unkempt (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unkempt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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