dis·​ar·​ray | \ˌdis-ə-ˈrā \

Definition of disarray 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a lack of order or sequence : confusion, disorder the room was in disarray … the disarray of paper in the In-Out basket …— Jackie Weger

2 : disorderly dress : dishabille



Definition of disarray (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to throw into disorder The discarded magazines and newspapers, the layers of dust and disarrayed rugs …— Gloria Naylor

2 : undress

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Examples of disarray in a Sentence


The room was in disarray. The company has fallen into complete disarray.


he had accidentally disarrayed his brother's CDs, leaving a telltale sign of borrowing without permission
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Venezuela’s opposition is in disarray at home — weakened by setbacks, arrests and electoral defeats — as President Nicolás Maduro moves to clinch a new six-year term in a controversial May 20 election. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Venezuelan exiles in Peru seize summit as chance to turn screws on Maduro," 12 Apr. 2018 By that time the economy was trashed, the fiscal accounts were in disarray, and the central bank was printing money. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Bolsonaro Takes Brazil," 28 Oct. 2018 Per the Daily Mail, at the wedding for Harry's cousin Eugenie to wine merchant Jack Brooksbank, Harry appeared to be wearing a pair of shoes in disarray. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry, Must You Keep Wearing These Broken Shoes?," 13 Oct. 2018 In the early 1990s, Dean Theodor Danila’s desk seemed constantly in disarray. Andrada Fiscutean, Ars Technica, "The adventures of lab ED011—“Nobody would be able to duplicate what happened there”," 27 Aug. 2018 Further complicating things for Morrisey is that his party is badly in disarray in Charleston. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Power Rankings: Not so peachy primaries," 9 July 2018 Nigeria’s army, hollowed out by corruption, was in disarray. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 Demonstrators have gathered daily in front of the court, while across town, the country’s Constitutional Tribunal—a panel of judges who rule on whether laws are constitutional—is also in disarray. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Poland Steps Up Supreme Court Purge," 13 July 2018 Germany is in disarray, searching for scapegoats and answers, after the 2014 World Cup champion exited lamely from the group stage this time. John Leicester, chicagotribune.com, "With World Cup title, France could launch a dynasty," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In this one, the first of a series published from 1935 to 1961, readers are introduced to a nervous Londoner named Pongo Twistleton, whose orderly life is disarrayed by the visit of his peremptory and mischievous uncle Fred from the country. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Surprise Lessons From John Lithgow’s ‘Stories by Heart’," 11 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disarray.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disarray


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disarray


see disarray entry 2


Middle English disarayen, from Anglo-French desaraier, from des- dis- + arraier to array

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Statistics for disarray

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disarray

The first known use of disarray was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for disarray



English Language Learners Definition of disarray

: a lack of order : a confused or messy condition


dis·​ar·​ray | \ˌdis-ə-ˈrā \

Kids Definition of disarray

: a confused or messy condition The room was in complete disarray.

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More from Merriam-Webster on disarray

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disarray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disarray

Spanish Central: Translation of disarray

Nglish: Translation of disarray for Spanish Speakers

Comments on disarray

What made you want to look up disarray? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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