dis·​ar·​ray | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈrā How to pronounce disarray (audio) \

Definition of disarray

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a lack of order or sequence : confusion, disorder the room was in disarray … the disarray of paper in the In-Out basket …— Jackie Weger
2 : disorderly dress : dishabille


disarrayed; disarraying; disarrays

Definition of disarray (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to throw into disorder The discarded magazines and newspapers, the layers of dust and disarrayed rugs …— Gloria Naylor
2 : undress

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Examples of disarray in a Sentence

Noun The room was in disarray. The company has fallen into complete disarray. Verb he had accidentally disarrayed his brother's CDs, leaving a telltale sign of borrowing without permission
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The film follows a family thrown into disarray after its patriarch is accidentally turned into a chicken by a magician during a children’s birthday party. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 20 Oct. 2021 Oregon’s bottom-ten ratings for public schools and taxes and regulation, and Portland’s descent into disarray over the past year and a half, have contributed to this pervasive sense of dissatisfaction with state leadership. Nate Hochman, National Review, 15 Oct. 2021 Our assumption that there are always enough workers to drive trucks and work at ports have been thrown into disarray. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 13 Oct. 2021 Global shipping congestion has thrown schedules into disarray, adding to demands on port staff, spokeswoman Rochelle Lockley said. Stephen Wright, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 Except Kendall flips the script and implicates his father, throwing the entire company into disarray. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 5 Oct. 2021 Cybersecurity experts particularly worry about attacks on health care facilities, which can be quickly thrown into disarray if their computer networks go down. Kevin Collier, NBC News, 30 Sep. 2021 Although the results have thrown Scholz’s conservative opponents into disarray, the landscape for the center left also remains challenging. BostonGlobe.com, 29 Sep. 2021 According to McNamara, Catherine's rise to power will throw the court and everyone in it into disarray. Lauren Huff, EW.com, 28 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The hands-off approach in Washington is adding to disarray around the death penalty nationwide as pressure increases in some conservative states to find ways to continue executions amid shortages of the lethal-injection drugs. Michael Tarm, Anchorage Daily News, 18 June 2021 Eslam Negm is no stranger to disarray on the Suez Canal. NBC News, 2 Apr. 2021 Culley assumes a tough challenge of changing the culture of a Texans franchise that in the last year has gone from playoff squad to disarray. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2021 The economic benefits are nothing compared to disarray and division within NATO. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2020 Naird’s situation is of a man with ramrod-straight posture prostrated and disarrayed at many odd angles. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, 28 May 2020 Large or small, the surface had to appear elegantly disarrayed. Julie Lasky, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2020 In this one, the first of a series published from 1935 to 1961, readers are introduced to a nervous Londoner named Pongo Twistleton, whose orderly life is disarrayed by the visit of his peremptory and mischievous uncle Fred from the country. Jesse Green, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disarray


Middle English disaraye, disaray "disorder, broken military formation," borrowed from Anglo-French dissairay, noun derivative of desaraier "to mishandle, throw into disorder" — more at disarray entry 2


Middle English disarraien "to break up (a military formation), throw into disorder," borrowed from Anglo-French desaraier "to mishandle, throw into disorder," from des- dis- + arraier, arreyer, aroier "to arrange, order, marshal, equip, attire" — more at array entry 1

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The first known use of disarray was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disarray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disarray. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of disarray

: a lack of order : a confused or messy condition


dis·​ar·​ray | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈrā How to pronounce disarray (audio) \

Kids Definition of disarray

: a confused or messy condition The room was in complete disarray.

More from Merriam-Webster on disarray

Nglish: Translation of disarray for Spanish Speakers


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