variants: or dishevelled

Definition of disheveled 

: marked by disorder or disarray disheveled hair

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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

Other Redditors tried to guess what might have caused his disheveled appearance, ranging from fire to possible drowning, all possibly at the hands of the witches. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "13 “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” Fan Theories That Might Predict What Is Ahead," 1 Nov. 2018 The boys’ beds remain slightly disheveled, Bourassa said. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘The Property’: A family’s getaway cabin defined its dreams, until a tragic Sunday morning," 24 Sep. 2018 Deep in San Francisco’s Mission District, inside a warehouse that’s home to Casper’s product development center, there’s a giant bin of disheveled neck pillows. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Getting a good night’s sleep is a luxury — and can come at a high price.," 9 Oct. 2018 The Neuroscientist Who Wants to Turn Support Cells into Neurons A disheveled guest emerges from the elevator of the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., carrying a bag of laundry to drop off at the front desk. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 His dealer picked up Lindell’s phone and snapped a photo of the addict’s face — walking-dead skin tone, disheveled hair, mug shot scowl. Kyle Swenson, Washington Post, "From crack cocaine to Mar-a-Lago: The unusual journey of the MyPillow man," 6 Apr. 2018 Seated in front of Ormsby were 71 disheveled immigrants caught illegally crossing the Rio Grande. Michael E. Miller,, "‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts on the border," 10 June 2018 Broken and disheveled, Serena sees June creeping out of the house with the baby and doesn't stop the handmaid. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 finale recap: The fight finally begins," 11 July 2018 In the pic, Couco’s husband, Karl stares at the camera with a Cheshire catlike smile on his face while Couco looks grim and disheveled. Julius Young, Fox News, "'Big Bang' star Kaley Couco undergoes shoulder surgery days after marrying Karl Cook," 6 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for disheveled

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for disheveled

The first known use of disheveled was in 1583

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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

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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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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