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

In front of the family stood a disheveled man in a woman’s dress and makeup, holding a gun and muttering about going out in a hail of gunfire rather than being captured by the police. Laurel Weibezahn,, "Cross-dressing robbers sentenced for stick-ups," 7 June 2019 Out front, there was a cart selling bridal bouquets, sachets of confetti, and congratulatory floral arrangements for last-minute traditionalists, a coffee vendor, a line of taxis, and a disheveled man emphatically swearing at a lamp post. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "Learning to Commit, One Step At A Time," 6 Feb. 2018 The deconstructed dress was designed to look a bit disheveled, as if Lively had accidentally skipped some buttons while getting into her dress. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Blake Lively Wore an Asymmetrical Monse Dress to a Mary Poppins Returns Screening," 11 Jan. 2019 Turns out Al, who had his own distinctive brand of disheveled chic, was on to something beyond a mere theory of relativity. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "How to Make Plaid Look Rad This Season," 25 Dec. 2018 The moment, which would end in disheveled, catastrophic-level hair for most, offered further proof that Beckham is forever ready for ensuing paparazzi. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Victoria Beckham Has a Major Wind Machine Hair Moment in New York City," 28 Nov. 2018 Not all Sears stores are disheveled or disappearing. Inti Pacheco, WSJ, "Empty Shelves, Sad Shoppers: Last Black Friday at a Sears Store," 23 Nov. 2018 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

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

14 Jun 2019

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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).


to take the place or position of

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