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adjective, slov·en·li·er, slov·en·li·est.
  1. untidy or unclean in appearance or habits.
  2. characteristic of a sloven; slipshod: slovenly work.
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  1. in an untidy, careless, or slipshod manner.
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Origin of slovenly

First recorded in 1505–15; sloven + -ly
Related formsslov·en·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for slovenly

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Antonyms for slovenly

1. neat. 2. careful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for slovenliness

messiness, untidiness, disorganization

Examples from the Web for slovenliness

Historical Examples of slovenliness

  • Books were strewn here and there, but there was no slovenliness or untidiness; and, ha!

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • Too little attention to dress and surroundings is slovenliness.

    Practical Ethics

    William DeWitt Hyde

  • "This is not disorder, but the usual Russian slovenliness," Markelov replied gloomily.

    Virgin Soil

    Ivan S. Turgenev

  • It may be marked by neatness and propriety, or by slovenliness and want of taste.

  • Griseldas raggedness must not be construed into slovenliness.

    Chaucer for Children

    Mrs. H. R. Haweis

British Dictionary definitions for slovenliness


  1. frequently or habitually unclean or untidy
  2. negligent and careless; slipshodslovenly manners
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  1. in a negligent or slovenly manner
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Derived Formsslovenliness, 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

Word Origin and History for slovenliness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper