• synonyms


  1. neatly or tidily kept: a kempt little cottage.
  2. combed, as hair.
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Origin of kempt

before 1050; Middle English; Old English cemd- past participle of cemban to comb1; see unkempt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kempt

Historical Examples of kempt

  • The Kempt family are not visitors, but live here all the year round.

    A Rock in the Baltic

    Robert Barr

  • Captain Kempt's reply will be sent under cover to you at your club.

  • The Kempt Road had not yet been opened though for some time in contemplation.

  • It is trim and "kempt" and modern, and lives strictly in the present.

  • His own flock, well washed and kempt, were much more agreeable subjects of contemplation.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

British Dictionary definitions for kempt


  1. (of hair) tidy; combedSee also unkempt
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Word Origin for kempt

C20: back formation from unkempt; originally past participle of dialect kemb to comb
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

Word Origin and History for kempt


"well-combed, neat," late 14c., from past tense of dialectal kemb, from Old English cemdan (see unkempt). A rare word after c.1500; any modern use probably is a whimsical back-formation from unkempt.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper