Definition of slovenly in US English:



  • 1(especially of a person or their appearance) messy and dirty.

    ‘he was upbraided for his slovenly appearance’
    • ‘So there's still plenty of hope that slovenly women have it together on the inside - at least as often as slovenly men.’
    • ‘On the other end of the phone, half the country away, is Vinnie, an unkempt, badly shaven, slovenly dressed loser.’
    • ‘I prefer it when Georges isn't cluttering up the place like a slovenly teenager.’
    • ‘At the same time, others might tend to take you more seriously, for better or for worse - they might perceive you as just a little bit more with-it and competent than your slovenly colleagues.’
    • ‘Two lads with notably large feet and broken shoes dance skillfully while a slovenly, fat woman picks at her guitar.’
    • ‘After seeing a number of slovenly men transformed by snappy suits, I wonder how I'll clean up.’
    • ‘Yet despite his slovenly appearance, somehow Araki is always followed by lovely young ladies in kimonos and gangs of sharp-dressed yes men.’
    • ‘It's interesting to watch polite, articulate, well groomed military officers field questions from slovenly reporters who look and sound like college students after an all-nighter.’
    • ‘Despite her basic beauty, she has a slovenly appearance, as though some strange magnetism randomly attaches clothes to her body every morning.’
    • ‘It was George ‘Beau’ Brummell who restored order to the slovenly neckwear of his time, by devising the use of starch on a muslin neckcloth, so that it would retain its shape throughout the day.’
    • ‘But to be honest I felt they could have made more of an effort just with simple things like cleaning the toilets and I felt the staff had a slovenly attitude.’
    • ‘On top of which the actress is awful, unwatchable, the most slovenly girl to appear on the screen in a long, long time.’
    • ‘But, you also say that the big boss doesn't take your co-worker's slovenly appearance quite as seriously as you do.’
    • ‘As Sylvie's grandmother would say (as she did, indeed, frequently say), Sylvie is slovenly, slatternly.’
    • ‘The primary point of the character is to provide a source of gross-out humor, as the group reacts to his slovenly appearance and phlegmy cough.’
    • ‘You tend to get a little slovenly without the pressure of public appearance.’
    • ‘It begins with no one troubling to polish their shoes and ends with slovenly doctors and nurses who cannot be bothered to wash their hands, killing 5,000 patients a year with MRSA.’
    • ‘Eric shook his head - where did such a slovenly man get such ideas?’
    • ‘Before all that, Simon had been obliged to reason with Matthau, who initially insisted that he wanted to play the impossibly particular Felix rather than the slovenly Oscar because, he said, that would involve real acting.’
    • ‘Often slovenly and untidy, she dressed to draw attention to her figure, and the history of her love affairs and marriages provided a basis for much talk.’
    scruffy, untidy, messy, unkempt, ill-groomed, slatternly, dishevelled, bedraggled, tousled, rumpled, frowzy, blowsy, down at heel
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    1. 1.1 (especially of a person or action) careless; excessively casual.
      ‘slovenly speech’
      • ‘You can't let it out of control, though, otherwise you'll grow slovenly and disgusting.’
      • ‘Then again, if he's objecting to your haphazard grammar and slovenly spelling, he has a point.’
      • ‘But T-shirts stretched over protruding bellies, shorts exposing hairy legs, and toes sprouting out of sandals are not casual - they're slovenly.’
      careless, slapdash, slipshod, disorganized, unorganized, unsystematic, unmethodical, haphazard, hit-or-miss, untidy, messy, thoughtless, negligent, neglectful, lax, lackadaisical, slack
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