Kempt and kept

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
David Myer
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:21 am
Location: Melbourne

Kempt and kept

Postby David Myer » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:12 am

Just came across this one in a newspaper article on-line:

On Tuesday afternoon shattered glass from the broken front windows was scattered all over the well-kempt front yard.

It prompted me to explore kempt. Apparently it means well-kept from ME cemd meaning combed.

But this is nearly an orphan-negative these days. Unkempt we read and hear often enough, but kempt is dying. So, well-kempt is probably a malapropism for well-kept.

The question then is: Is well-kempt also a tautology?

And does kept share an ancestry?

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