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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce unkempt (audio)

Dictionary definition of unkempt

Appearing disheveled, untidy, or neglected, typically concerning their physical appearance or state of orderliness.
"His unkempt hair and beard made him look unprofessional."

Detailed meaning of unkempt

When someone or something is characterized as unkempt, it implies a lack of grooming, tidiness, or maintenance, resulting in a disordered or messy appearance. This term can apply to various contexts, such as unkempt hair that is tangled and wild, an unkempt garden with overgrown weeds and an untended lawn, or an unkempt room that is cluttered and in disarray. "Unkempt" underscores the idea of something being in a state of neglect or disrepair, often contrasting with a previously tidy or well-maintained condition.

Example sentences containing unkempt

1. His unkempt beard and disheveled clothes gave him a rugged appearance.
2. The abandoned house had an unkempt garden overrun with weeds.
3. She entered the interview with unkempt hair, looking flustered.
4. The stray cat had matted and unkempt fur from living on the streets.
5. The neglected park had unkempt pathways and broken benches.
6. The old attic was filled with dusty, unkempt boxes of forgotten items.

History and etymology of unkempt

The adjective 'unkempt' traces its origins to the Old English word 'uncemban,' which means 'to comb' or 'to tidy up.' Over time, the 'un-' prefix, denoting negation or reversal, was added to create 'unkempt,' emphasizing the opposite – the lack of grooming or tidiness. It entered the English language in the 15th century. 'Unkempt' is used to describe individuals or things that appear disheveled, untidy, or neglected, typically concerning their physical appearance or state of orderliness. The etymology of 'unkempt' effectively conveys the idea of something not having been combed or tidied up, emphasizing a lack of care and neatness. Whether applied to a person with disheveled hair or a neglected garden, this term conveys an impression of untidiness and disregard for appearance or maintenance.

Quiz: Find the meaning of unkempt

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Further usage examples of unkempt

1. The abandoned car sat in the yard with an unkempt, overgrown lawn.
2. His unkempt office was cluttered with papers and books.
3. The storm left the beachfront property looking unkempt and battered.
4. The actor's portrayal of a homeless man included unkempt attire.
5. The kitchen was left in an unkempt state after a rushed breakfast.
6. The unkempt alleyway was a hiding spot for urban wildlife.
7. The once-grand mansion now stood as a crumbling, unkempt ruin.
8. The basement was dark, damp, and unkempt with cobwebs.
9. The unkempt forest trail was rarely traveled by hikers.
10. The classroom appeared unkempt after a long weekend.
11. The dog's unkempt appearance improved after a visit to the groomer.
12. The untamed garden had an unkempt charm with wildflowers.
13. The actor's makeup created the illusion of an unkempt appearance.
14. The guest bedroom was clean but still appeared somewhat unkempt.
15. The letter's unkempt handwriting was difficult to decipher.
16. The artist's studio was cluttered and unkempt but full of creativity.
17. The suburban street had an unkempt feel with overgrown lawns.
18. The bookstore had a cozy, unkempt atmosphere with books piled high.
19. The teenager's bedroom was notoriously unkempt, with clothes strewn everywhere.



disordered, neat, tidy, groomed


Cleanliness and Upkeep, Middle School 4, Clothing and Appearance

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