di·​shev·​el di-ˈshev-əl How to pronounce dishevel (audio)
disheveled or dishevelled; disheveling or dishevelling di-ˈshe-v(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce dishevel (audio)

transitive verb

: to throw into disorder or disarray
dishevelment noun

Example Sentences

decorations for the garden wedding that had been disheveled by the wind
Recent Examples on the Web The unit was disheveled with furniture moved about and items on the floor. cleveland, 18 Apr. 2020 His light-gray suit is dishevelled, his tie undone. Anthony Veasna So, The New Yorker, 3 Feb. 2020 That’s the burden carried by Bachmann, played by Hoffman as a dissolute, disheveled, crushed soul who still gives his all to his exacting, dangerous work. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 14 Nov. 2019 Police observed the girl to have disheveled hair, a red bruise on her side and a patterned injury on her leg. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Nov. 2019 The unit was disheveled, with feces, either from the dog or a human, seen throughout the floor. cleveland, 28 Sep. 2019 The third trailer had a broken lock and its interior was disheveled. cleveland, 25 Oct. 2019 Officers whisked in one person after another to stand before the judge; all of them had been arrested within the past twenty-four hours, and all appeared dishevelled and exhausted. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, 26 June 2019 There were quite a few slightly disheveled looking folks walking around holding these crazy red or blue drinks that came in what looked like a small fishbowl. Tom Reardon, azcentral, 4 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dishevel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


back-formation from disheveled

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dishevel was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near dishevel

Cite this Entry

“Dishevel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



di·​shev·​el dish-ˈev-əl How to pronounce dishevel (audio)
disheveled or dishevelled; disheveling or dishevelling -ˈev-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce dishevel (audio)
: to throw into disorder : make untidy
the wind disheveled her clothes

More from Merriam-Webster on dishevel

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