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[sluhv-uh n-lee] /ˈslʌv ən li/
adjective, slovenlier, slovenliest.
untidy or unclean in appearance or habits.
characteristic of a sloven; slipshod:
slovenly work.
in an untidy, careless, or slipshod manner.
Origin of slovenly
1505-15; sloven + -ly
Related forms
slovenliness, noun
1. sluttish, slatternly. 2. careless, loose, disorderly.
1. neat. 2. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slovenly
Historical Examples
  • If you do, you will give him a slovenly carriage and habits, and lessen his zeal for the sport.

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

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • The only "Indolence" we see has been devoted to the execution, for it is slovenly to a degree.

  • She was directed by a slovenly maid to a room on an upper floor, and left there.

  • It has cost me very intense labour; and, whatever its faults may be, it is certainly not a slovenly performance.

    Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay George Otto Trevelyan
  • Careless, slovenly and wasteful as I knew him to be, he was not mean.

  • The yard itself was no longer strewn with tin cans and bits of paper, nor did the gate hang half-hinged in slovenly decrepitude.

    The Turn of the Tide Eleanor H. Porter
  • It is a grievous thing to note how slovenly this part of the service is in some places.

    Broken Bread Thomas Champness
  • It has been the fashion, too, to say that he was slovenly, and careless in his dress.

  • 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; slipshod: slovenly manners
in a negligent or slovenly manner
Derived Forms
slovenliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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
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