di·​shev·​eled | \ di-ˈshev-əld How to pronounce disheveled (audio) \
variants: or dishevelled

Definition of disheveled

: marked by disorder or disarray disheveled hair

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

It’s common to wake up after a long night’s sleep with your hair disheveled - which is appropriate, considering the origins of the word disheveled. First appearing in English in the late 16th century, disheveled derived from Middle English discheveled, meaning "bareheaded" or "with disordered hair." It is a partial translation of the Anglo-French word deschevelé, formed by combining the prefix des- (dis-) with chevoil, the word for hair. Since the early 17th century, however, disheveled has been used for things other than hair, including such disparate items as grammar and reputations, that are far from tidy.

Examples of disheveled in a Sentence

His wrinkled suit gave him a disheveled appearance. They looked dirty and disheveled.
Recent Examples on the Web Then Hansen pointed out burn marks on the sidewalk that crept up a disheveled tree. oregonlive, "In Portland, some neighborhood associations assist homeless residents, rather than rally to eject them," 27 Mar. 2021 Deegan sets up a family video call with Marta Aguilar, a tiny, frail patient with disheveled, white hair. USA Today, "‘No one has been trained for this much death.’ In a COVID ICU, hospital workers struggle with trauma and grief.," 12 Mar. 2021 And unlike the sleek tasting rooms of neighboring counties, Point Reyes Vineyards presents as a little disheveled. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Point Reyes is not a wine destination. This vintner says climate change could make it one," 12 Feb. 2021 These big birds have a disheveled look, with their long, loose feathers needed for the extreme cold. Val Cunningham Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "A Minneapolis author's search for rare 'ice owls' is a page turner," 9 Feb. 2021 Thankfully, dark under-eye circles are welcome on TikTok, where users frequently post makeup tutorials on how to get a grungy and disheveled look that anyone over the age of 25 can accomplish by merely existing. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "The "Colorful Eye Bag" Makeup Trend Is All Over TikTok Right Now," 25 Jan. 2021 Throughout her acting career, Selma Blair has been the queen of the disheveled yet glamorous pixie haircut. Sarah Midkiff,, "Selma Blair’s Feathered Pixie Haircut Is An Homage To Her Most Iconic Role," 22 Oct. 2020 Despite serving as the butt of many jokes, the disheveled 75-foot Norway spruce in Manhattan will still get its shine on during the 88th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center special. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Christmas specials, ‘The Undoing’ top this week’s TV picks," 29 Nov. 2020 The way the team looked, disheveled and uninspired, ill-equipped and disconnected, often in over their heads. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions owner keeps promise by canning Matt Patricia, Bob Quinn before December," 29 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disheveled.' 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 disheveled

1583, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for disheveled

Middle English discheveled bareheaded, with disordered hair, partial translation of Anglo-French deschevelé, from des- dis- + chevoil hair, from Latin capillus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about disheveled

Time Traveler for disheveled

Time Traveler

The first known use of disheveled was in 1583

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about disheveled

Statistics for disheveled

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disheveled.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for disheveled



English Language Learners Definition of disheveled

: not neat or tidy


variants: or dishevelled \ di-​ˈshe-​vəld \

Kids Definition of disheveled

: messy sense 1 disheveled hair

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on disheveled

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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