Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Tidy; trim: a nicely kempt beard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. neat and tidy; especially used of hair

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • p. p. of kemb; combed.
  • Neatly kept; tidy. Opposite of unkempt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A past participle of kemb.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of hair) neat and tidy

Etymologies

Back-formation from unkempt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Originally a past participle of Old English cemban ("to comb"). Modern uses are back-formations from the negative unkempt. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With his thick gray hair, salt-and-pepper beard, and aviator glasses, he looked like a well-kempt Jerry Garcia.

    The Velvet Reformation

  • Chestnut tresses, once close-cut and well-kempt, fall almost to his shoulders which slump in ressentiment: * to every hair however stray, those shoulders seem to say, Halt!

    wine maker

  • On the whole, she was not much cleaner or any better kempt than the ragamuffin boy.

    Uprising

  • Half-wit neighborhood darling parks a new Denali in the driveway and his family twiglegs around it in hostile kempt gladhands.

    Suburban Home Sinks into the Pacific

  • Further proof of this trend resides not merely in recent childhood obesity and Type-II diabetes data, but also through observing the well-kempt suburban neighborhoods throughout L.A. seemingly designed for the sole purpose of outdoor activity - for impromptu outbreaks of tag, red rover, and pickle - that are now eerily bereft of the sights and sounds of children at play.

    Brock Cohen: Welcome to Bubble Boy Nation

  •    She pictures him sitting atop some weatherbeaten couch in a small apartment somewhere, his hair longer and less kempt, opening it with anticipation -

    Caitlin in the Y2K Museum

  • On the far side of the table are a number of well-kempt academic types.

    hughstimson.org » Blog Archive » Liveblogging the GEO Contract Negotiations

  • April 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm matt kempt looks like a thug 2 me

    World Cup: England Vs Germany, BBC

  • Chestnut tresses, once close-cut and well-kempt, fall almost to his shoulders which slump in ressentiment:* to every hair however stray, those shoulders seem to say, Halt!

    wine maker

  • I have only ever seen you kempt and all I can think of right now is the photo of you in your party dress which makes your assertation of scruff laughable ..

    Scruffy

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Comments

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  • "I dreamt that my hair was kempt. Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it."
    - Ogden Nash

    June 28, 2012

  • I should add that all seemed to take a pride in their personal appearance, and that even the poorest (and none seemed rich) were well kempt and tidy.

    - Samuel Butler, Erewhon

    July 18, 2008