di·​shev·​eled di-ˈshev-əld How to pronounce disheveled (audio)
variants or dishevelled
: marked by disorder or disarray
disheveled hair

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Disheveled comes from Middle English discheveled, meaning "bareheaded" or "with disordered hair." That word is partially based on Anglo-French deschevelé, a combination of the prefix des- ("dis-") and chevoil ("hair"). In English, disheveled describes things other than hair that have a messy or untidy appearance.

Examples of disheveled in a Sentence

His wrinkled suit gave him a disheveled appearance. They looked dirty and disheveled.
Recent Examples on the Web The appearance of a disheveled stranger at the couple’s back gate selling matches gives Edward a target for his ire. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2023 Her brunette hair was piled atop the crown of her head to form a disheveled bun. Gabi Thorne, Allure, 15 Aug. 2023 Butler pointed at a crowd of listless, disheveled men who are forever sitting outside a McDonald’s. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2023 Then two dancers driving down a main strip in Kansas City saw a disheveled man walking along the sidewalk. Matt Kempner, ajc, 23 June 2023 For decades, claims of the actress haunting the area persisted, with visitors reporting seeing a disheveled blonde woman appear and then suddenly vanish. Nathan Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2023 For years, it’s been a slightly disheveled retreat in search of a purpose. Developing Governors Island, Curbed, 11 May 2023 One such shot, from 1973, depicted the blues musician B.B. King lounging in the bed of a Philadelphia hotel wearing disheveled pajamas, looking weary but at ease, with a pipe in hand. Alex Williams, New York Times, 20 June 2023 Wrinkled clothes are the bane of every traveler’s existence — there’s nothing worse than donning an incredible dress for a busy travel day, only to arrive looking like a disheveled mess. Jill Schildhouse, Travel + Leisure, 25 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disheveled.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disheveled was in 1583


Dictionary Entries Near disheveled

Cite this Entry

“Disheveled.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants or dishevelled
: marked by disorder
disheveled hair

More from Merriam-Webster on disheveled

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