Definition of kempt in English:

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Pronunciation: /kem(p)t/


chiefly British
(Of a person or a place) maintained in a neat and clean condition; well cared for: she was looking as thoroughly kempt as ever
More example sentences
  • She had lived in New York for about a year, moving up from Chicago after being offered the job when she turned 18, and settling herself away from her family in a well kempt area in the heart of the City.
  • It looked like it was a well kempt city, but this bus stop stuck out like a sore thumb.
  • They were to be clean and kempt in person, and to display personal identification (including a photograph) in the cab.


Old English cemd-, past participle of cemban 'to comb', of Germanic origin; related to comb. The Middle English form kemb survives in dialect.

  • unkempt from Late Middle English:

    People have only combed their hair since around 1400; before that they would have kembed it and their hair would have been kempt. These are forms of the old word kemb, which was eventually replaced by the related word comb, an Old English word which may have the underlying sense of ‘tooth’. The term has survived, though, sometimes in the form kempt but especially in unkempt, which has come to mean ‘untidy or dishevelled’ rather than ‘uncombed’.

Words that rhyme with kempt

attempt, contempt, dreamt, exempt, pre-empt, tempt

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: kempt

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