1. a person who is habitually negligent of neatness or cleanliness in dress, appearance, etc.
2. a person who works, acts, speaks, etc., in a negligent, slipshod manner
3. "immoral woman" later (16 c.) also "rascal, knave" (regardless of gender)
- late Middle English (1400 - 1450) sloveyn
- perhaps from Middle Dutch: slof - careless (Dutch slof - careless, sloven to toil) + -inne feminine noun suffix
- probably from a continental Germanic source
- cf. Middle Flemish: sloovin "a scold," sloef "untidy, shabby"
- cf. Middle Low German: sloven "put on clothes carelessly"
- from Proto-Germanic *slaubjan
- from PIE *sleubh - "to slide, slip" (see sleeve)
-- Cf. also slut
- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
1. "Having been a coxcomb in his youth, Fox was now degenerating into the sloven"
-- "Beaux and Belles of England" by Mary Robinson
2. "The sloven becomes the bungler, and the bungler is on the high road to failure".
-- "Rural Life and the Rural School" by Joseph Kennedy
3. "He had seen the sloven tilled decks and the savage-eyed crew".
-- "Captains Courageous" by Rudyard Kipling