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

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 Immigration cases move slowly and Manning said the federal government’s reorganization of deportation courts has thrown the system into further disarray. oregonlive.com, "Roughly 450 migrants received free legal help from Portland to fight deportation, seek asylum," 21 Aug. 2019 Don't make these mistakes These are the things that can really plunge the planning, shopping and decorating into disarray and dysfunction. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Jill Martin is your guide to dorm room awesomeness: 'You're making this your little house'," 13 Aug. 2019 Deutsch was at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles when Manson arrived that same day, a tiny figure in buckskin, hair in scraggly disarray. Los Angeles Times, "Charles Manson’s murderous imprint on L.A. endures as other killers have come and gone," 28 July 2019 Last week, after what seemed like endless campaigning and disarray, the results of the contest were announced. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: Trump Stood in Front of a Fake Presidential Seal," 28 July 2019 Where previously there were labels saying who shot the photos, all drawn from the museum’s archive, on floor three there is only the images, only the sense of a world in motion and peril and disarray. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "‘Go Down Moses’ at Chicago’s MoCP moves from contemplation to cacophony (and back)," 24 July 2019 Watching this disarray, meanwhile, is the wily Mr Sarkozy. The Economist, "France’s Republican party faces extinction," 29 June 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

18 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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