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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 slovenly

bedraggled, careless, dingy, disheveled, disorderly, dowdy, frowzy, frumpy, grubby, grungy, heedless, icky, loose, messy, negligent, pigpen, raunchy, seedy, slack, slapdash

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


  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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper