dis·​ar·​ray | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈrā How to pronounce disarray (audio) \

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


disarrayed; disarraying; disarrays

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of disarray in a Sentence

Noun The room was in disarray. The company has fallen into complete disarray. Verb he had accidentally disarrayed his brother's CDs, leaving a telltale sign of borrowing without permission
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Washington State is a program in disarray and that will show Saturday. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 But Republicans say the problems already encountered in the passage of the bills show the administration and the Democrats, with razor slim majorities in Congress, are in disarray. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 5 Oct. 2021 Biden didn’t leave much of a mark, but that’s in part because of the material he was given, including rote political jabs about Democrats in disarray. David Sims, The Atlantic, 3 Oct. 2021 In short, the Quad itself is in disarray without strong and forthright American leadership, including in the military arena. Arthur Herman, National Review, 1 Oct. 2021 This throws another wrench into global supply chains already in disarray. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2021 The Packers, who appeared to be in disarray after their opening thrashing at the hands of the Saints, are now 2-1. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Sep. 2021 The offensive line was in disarray for most of the night, and Spencer Rattler spent much of it running for his life. R.j. Coyle, Dallas News, 25 Sep. 2021 The stage seems to be in its raw state: Tom Scutt’s set — black mesh on the walls, a large empty platform, a ghost light pushed to one side — has the messy darkness of a backstage in disarray. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 21 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The hands-off approach in Washington is adding to disarray around the death penalty nationwide as pressure increases in some conservative states to find ways to continue executions amid shortages of the lethal-injection drugs. Michael Tarm, Anchorage Daily News, 18 June 2021 Eslam Negm is no stranger to disarray on the Suez Canal. NBC News, 2 Apr. 2021 Culley assumes a tough challenge of changing the culture of a Texans franchise that in the last year has gone from playoff squad to disarray. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2021 The economic benefits are nothing compared to disarray and division within NATO. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2020 Naird’s situation is of a man with ramrod-straight posture prostrated and disarrayed at many odd angles. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, 28 May 2020 Large or small, the surface had to appear elegantly disarrayed. Julie Lasky, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2020 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, 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.

See More

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


Middle English disaraye, disaray "disorder, broken military formation," borrowed from Anglo-French dissairay, noun derivative of desaraier "to mishandle, throw into disorder" — more at disarray entry 2


Middle English disarraien "to break up (a military formation), throw into disorder," borrowed from Anglo-French desaraier "to mishandle, throw into disorder," from des- dis- + arraier, arreyer, aroier "to arrange, order, marshal, equip, attire" — more at array entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About disarray

Time Traveler for disarray

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near disarray




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for disarray

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disarray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarray. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce disarray (audio) \

Kids Definition of disarray

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

More from Merriam-Webster on disarray

Nglish: Translation of disarray for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!