Definition of slovenly in US English:



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

    ‘he was upbraided for his slovenly appearance’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two lads with notably large feet and broken shoes dance skillfully while a slovenly, fat woman picks at her guitar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You tend to get a little slovenly without the pressure of public appearance.’
    • ‘But, you also say that the big boss doesn't take your co-worker's slovenly appearance quite as seriously as you do.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Eric shook his head - where did such a slovenly man get such ideas?’
    • ‘As Sylvie's grandmother would say (as she did, indeed, frequently say), Sylvie is slovenly, slatternly.’
    • ‘After seeing a number of slovenly men transformed by snappy suits, I wonder how I'll clean up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet despite his slovenly appearance, somehow Araki is always followed by lovely young ladies in kimonos and gangs of sharp-dressed yes men.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So there's still plenty of hope that slovenly women have it together on the inside - at least as often as slovenly 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On top of which the actress is awful, unwatchable, the most slovenly girl to appear on the screen in a long, long time.’
    • ‘I prefer it when Georges isn't cluttering up the place like a slovenly teenager.’
    • ‘On the other end of the phone, half the country away, is Vinnie, an unkempt, badly shaven, slovenly dressed loser.’
    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’
      • ‘But T-shirts stretched over protruding bellies, shorts exposing hairy legs, and toes sprouting out of sandals are not casual - they're slovenly.’
      • ‘Then again, if he's objecting to your haphazard grammar and slovenly spelling, he has a point.’
      • ‘You can't let it out of control, though, otherwise you'll grow slovenly and disgusting.’
      careless, slapdash, slipshod, disorganized, unorganized, unsystematic, unmethodical, haphazard, hit-or-miss, untidy, messy, thoughtless, negligent, neglectful, lax, lackadaisical, slack
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