adjective, slov·en·li·er, slov·en·li·est.

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 formsslov·en·li·ness, noun

Synonyms for slovenly

Antonyms for slovenly

1. neat. 2. careful. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for slovenly

Historical Examples of slovenly

  • Yes, you've taken to mucking your work—doing it in a most slovenly way.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for slovenly



frequently or habitually unclean or untidy
negligent and careless; slipshodslovenly manners


in a negligent or slovenly manner
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 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