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From Middle English uneven, from Old English unefen (unequal, unlike, dissimilar, diverse, irregular), equivalent to un- +‎ even. Cognate with Dutch oneven (unequal, uneven, odd), German uneben (uneven, rough, irregular, bumpy).


  • IPA(key): /ʌnˈivən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːvən


uneven (comparative more uneven, superlative most uneven)

  1. Not even
  2. Not level or smooth
  3. Not uniform
    • 2022 November 30, Paul Bigland, “Destination Oban: a Sunday in Scotland”, in RAIL, number 971, page 79:
      I've spent hours on overcrowded trains, and time on ones which were almost empty, because the recovery [from COVID] has been uneven.
  4. Varying in quality
  5. (mathematics, rare) Odd
    Antonym: even


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uneven (third-person singular simple present unevens, present participle unevening, simple past and past participle unevened)

  1. (transitive) To make uneven.
    • 1993, Travel Holiday, volume 176, page 56:
      Initially it nestled among the dozens of Indian mounds that unevened the earth near the river until they were leveled to accommodate commerce.
    • 2006, Jack Temple Kirby, Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South, page 128:
      First, of course, the war reduced the white male, mostly young adult, population by more than a quarter-million, unevening the sex ratio and connubial and other opportunities for women for perhaps a generation.