Definition of uncouth in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʌnˈkuːθ/


1Lacking good manners, refinement, or grace: he is unwashed, uncouth, and drunk most of the time
More example sentences
  • I haven't done anything to you, so I can't see the reason why I am treated in such an uncouth manner.
  • Feeling guilty about repossessing the Massie family home, Cooper and Leah hire Dale as a labourer on the property, but secretly object to his table manners and uncouth ways.
  • Max is unsophisticated, uncouth, rough and tough - but his heart is in the right place.
uncivilized, uncultured, uncultivated, unrefined, unpolished, unsophisticated, common, low, plebeian, philistine, rough, coarse, provincial, rustic, crude, gross, loutish, hooligan, boorish, oafish;
Neanderthal, barbarian, barbarous, barbaric, bearish, primitive, savage;
churlish, uncivil, rude, impolite, discourteous, disrespectful, unmannerly, bad-mannered, ill-mannered, ill-bred, indecorous, ungallant, ungentlemanly, unladylike, vulgar, crass, indelicate, offensive;
North American  backwoods, hillbilly, hick
informal yobbish, slobbish, clodhopping
1.1(Of art or language) lacking sophistication or delicacy: uncouth sketches of peasants
More example sentences
  • The figure in blue pointed and gave a command in an uncouth language.
  • The uncouth language of the younger generation was particularly distressing.
  • Squalid public bickering was unknown to him, let alone the use of uncouth language.
2 archaic (Of a place) wild, remote, or spartan: his uncouth cell in Fleet prison
More example sentences
  • But, like many other prosperous geezers, they would prefer to hit the links and avoid uncouth places where nobody has heard of Metamucil.



Pronunciation: /ʌnˈkuːθli/
Example sentences
  • He hated when guys talked about his sister, especially in that degrading uncouthly lewd way they loved, especially in the locker rooms.
  • Also, I responded rather uncouthly to Tom's amusement when he found out that I had gotten detention.
  • Evander stared at her uncouthly when her face was revealed to him fully by the lights from the front of the venue.


Pronunciation: /ʌnˈkuːθnəs/
Example sentences
  • Probably not very, given the essential uncouthness of the town, but at least it shows they're trying.
  • The penchant for booing by baseball spectators probably reached its lowest level of uncouthness in 1985 when the first-place Toronto Blue Jays met the second-place Yankees in the opener of a crucial four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
  • Uncertain what to be more mad at, Eric's drugs, Eric's uncouthness, or his own inability to think, he turned his head back towards Bryan's smirking cousin.


Old English uncūth 'unknown', from un-1 'not' + cūth (past participle of cunnan 'know, be able').

  • A word that originally meant ‘unknown’. For much of the history of uncouth, most people would not have used or understood its opposite, couth. This originally meant ‘known’ but was later only used in Scottish English, for ‘kind’ or ‘comfortable’. Uncouth, though, developed a fully independent life. It came to refer to unsophisticated language or style in the late 17th century, and then to uncultured or ill-mannered people or behaviour. In 1896 the English essayist and critic Max Beerbohm (1872–1956) was the first to use couth as a deliberate opposite of uncouth meaning ‘cultured, well-mannered’. Ungainly (early 17th century) developed in a similar way. There is a word gainly, but it has never been common and its original meaning, ‘suitable, fitting’, now occurs only in Scottish dialect. Gainly came from the old word gain, which was used especially in the senses ‘kindly’ and ‘convenient’, and is of Scandinavian origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: un|couth

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