[ kempt ]
/ kɛmpt /


neatly or tidily kept: a kempt little cottage.
combed, as hair.

Origin of kempt

before 1050; Middle English; Old English cemd- past participle of cemban to comb1; see unkempt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kempt

British Dictionary definitions for kempt


/ (kɛmpt) /


(of hair) tidy; combedSee also unkempt

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper