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[sluhv-uh n-lee] /ˈslʌv ən li/
adjective, slovenlier, slovenliest.
untidy or unclean in appearance or habits.
characteristic of a sloven; slipshod:
slovenly work.
in an untidy, careless, or slipshod manner.
Origin of slovenly
First recorded in 1505-15; sloven + -ly
Related forms
slovenliness, noun
1. sluttish, slatternly. 2. careless, loose, disorderly.
1. neat. 2. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for slovenly
Historical Examples
  • Yes, you've taken to mucking your work—doing it in a most slovenly way.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • She was directed by a slovenly maid to a room on an upper floor, and left there.

  • Careless, slovenly and wasteful as I knew him to be, he was not mean.

  • It is a grievous thing to note how slovenly this part of the service is in some places.

    Broken Bread Thomas Champness
  • He lived in a large, stone house, kept in rather a slovenly manner.

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • "No, I'll go out after that kicker," he said, ashamed of his slovenly work.

    Blue-Bird Weather

    Robert W. Chambers
  • There was already a look of slovenly age about his stooping bookworm's gait.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • It was a slovenly word, a makeshift for the hard broom of clean thought.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke
  • Earth dirt he had no objection to; slovenly dirt was as abhorrent to him as vice.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • In dress, although far from slovenly, he was by no means particular.

British Dictionary definitions for slovenly


frequently or habitually unclean or untidy
negligent and careless; slipshod: slovenly manners
in a negligent or slovenly manner
Derived Forms
slovenliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for slovenly

1510s, "low, base, lewd," later "untidy, dirty" (1560s), from sloven + -ly (1). Related: Slovenliness; also in this sense was slovenry (1540s), which OED reports in common use early 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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