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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s especially the case when so many critical elements—testing, resources for the infected, manual contact tracing—remain in disarray. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Google and Apple Change Tactics on Contact Tracing Tech," 1 Sep. 2020 One dancer—the only other boy in the class—stood perfectly still amid the disarray. Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books, "Missed Steps," 26 Aug. 2020 The authorization occurs amid ongoing disarray over Covid-19 testing. Ed Silverman, STAT, "FDA clears saliva test for Covid-19, opening door to wider testing," 15 Aug. 2020 Plus, given the department’s current disarray under William Barr, just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Willie Brown: Kamala Harris should say no to vice presidency," 8 Aug. 2020 Our governor and mayor are keeping us in a state of disarray. . . . ... WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Enough," 24 Aug. 2020 The onset of the global pandemic and the ensuing chaos has thrown many plans into disarray, including converting the dirt track’s surface, at least for this year. Christopher Deharde, The Indianapolis Star, "Kyle Larson: ‘I don’t want to be the final winner of the Hoosier Hundred’," 24 Aug. 2020 The officers entered the small, one-story home, which was in a state of disarray. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Four years before SAPD officer was fired for using a knee restraint, he was involved in the death of San Antonio man in custody," 21 Aug. 2020 The biggest surprise would probably be the level of disarray the first season experienced. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Joel Klug says there was producer manipulation on Borneo," 19 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Naird’s situation is of a man with ramrod-straight posture prostrated and disarrayed at many odd angles. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "In Netflix’s “Space Force,” Steve Carell Is Stranded Between the Caustic and the Cutesy," 28 May 2020 Large or small, the surface had to appear elegantly disarrayed. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "These Custom Designs Are Anything but Customary," 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, "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


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

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Time Traveler for disarray

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for disarray

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disarray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarray. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for disarray


How to pronounce disarray (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disarray

Nglish: Translation of disarray for Spanish Speakers

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