Definition of unkempt in US English:



  • (especially of a person) having an untidy or disheveled appearance.

    ‘they were unwashed and unkempt’
    • ‘I tackled my wardrobes about a year ago, but like an unkempt ivy, disorder and chaos has returned.’
    • ‘He peers out from under his scruffy, unkempt hair with a slackjawed, apprehensive expression.’
    • ‘She raked her fingers through the wild, unkempt gardens of her hair.’
    • ‘His hair was almost as disheveled and unkempt as mine, and he was the first baboon in the troop who ever interacted with me.’
    • ‘Her nose was red, her face streaked and tear-stained, her hair disheveled and unkempt.’
    • ‘If the garden is unkempt, unhealthy or dying, it is considered to be draining the energy.’
    • ‘He was rather unkempt, so we didn't want to put him in the new family car for his ride home.’
    • ‘The whole head is fluffed up and gently back-combed, so that it looks scruffy and unkempt.’
    • ‘It was a shabby, straggly, unkempt little regiment, their faces chapped, their noses running in the cold.’
    • ‘She stood in the middle of the devastation, breathing heavily, hair unkempt and gown rumpled and mussed.’
    • ‘This means that the cemetery has a very untidy, unkempt appearance but this will soon change.’
    • ‘He had on a white shirt and black trousers which were too short and he was unkempt.’
    • ‘I have also had to contact the council regarding the unkempt appearance of the roads in my area.’
    • ‘The old colonial building with a wild and unkempt garden around was unlit and silent.’
    • ‘If you can cope with leaving part of your lawn unkempt then your garden will really benefit.’
    • ‘It was a woman, dirty, bedraggled and unkempt, but a woman nonetheless.’
    • ‘The man allowed him to turn around and looked him up and down, taking in the rumpled clothes and unkempt hair.’
    • ‘Sporting an unkempt beard and shaggy crop, he makes Robinson Crusoe look like GQ's Man of the Year.’
    • ‘Norman took me into his unkempt, barren back garden to show me the only thing which he could boast of - his four fat white rabbits.’
    • ‘The result certainly gives the Parliament an unkempt, unloved appearance lacking in maintenance.’
    untidy, messy, scruffy, disordered, dishevelled, disarranged, rumpled, windblown, ungroomed, bedraggled, in a mess, messed up, shabby, slovenly, shaggy
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Late Middle English: from un- ‘not’ + kempt ‘combed’ (past participle of archaic kemb, related to comb).