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

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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

The campus fell into disarray -- there were protests calling for the reinstatement of the players, and the situation garnered national attention. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "After 50 years, the University of Wyoming apologized for the dismissal of 14 black football players," 16 Sep. 2019 All three of the bills have passed at least one of the two legislative chambers so far, largely with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against In recent months, California’s recycling system has been thrown into disarray. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, "California considering toughest plastic pollution laws in United States," 11 Sep. 2019 But that tradition was thrown into disarray just a few months ago, with the creation of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) in Kiev. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Tangle of church and state roils Ukraine’s Orthodox parishes," 17 Apr. 2019 Those big plays were the backbreakers in the national title game loss to Clemson when the secondary looked to be in disarray at times. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Predicting Alabama’s record, breakout stars and toughest opponent for 2019," 22 Aug. 2019 Arsenal seem to be in disarray off the pitch and their problems on the pitch are showing no obvious signs of disappearing. SI.com, "Leicester City: How the Foxes are Set to Defy the Odds Again & Break into the Top 4 Next Season," 20 July 2019 Since Diaz’s hire, the coach has revitalized a Miami football program that appeared in disarray when the 2018 season ended. Christy Cabrera Chirinos, sun-sentinel.com, "Hurricanes AD Blake James has experienced plenty of highs and lows — but nothing like the ‘whirlwind’ of hiring Manny Diaz," 5 June 2019 That worked out great for people who had financial staying power to handle the risks of buying stocks when markets were in disarray and the Great Recession was upon us. Allan Sloan, Washington Post, "Trump is demanding low or even zero interest rates. But there is a real downside.," 12 Sep. 2019 Eberstadt: As mentioned, though there are more causes than one of our disarray — as enumerated in Primal Screams — the most overlooked cause of all is radical social change beginning in the 1960s. Nr Interview, National Review, "Identity Politics Runs Much Deeper than Politics," 27 Aug. 2019

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

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for disarray

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

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 How to pronounce disarray (audio) \

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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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