- to let down, as hair, or wear or let hang in loose disorder, as clothing.
- to cause untidiness and disarray in: The wind disheveled the papers on the desk.
Origin of dishevel
- hanging loosely or in disorder; unkempt: disheveled hair.
- untidy; disarranged: a disheveled appearance.
Origin of disheveled
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dishevelled
The pedophile is often imagined as the dishevelled old man baldly offering candy to preschoolers.The Cost of Costly Punishment
September 20, 2012
Wamibo darted out a dishevelled head, and looked at him wildly.The Nigger Of The "Narcissus"
He is hatless and unwashed and dishevelled, standing in the Blackfriars Road.Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
Her appearance is that of a tall, gaunt hag, with dishevelled hair.Russian Fairy Tales
W. R. S. Ralston
Then French came in, and behind him a lady in black, dishevelled, bathed in tears.Marriage la mode
Mrs. Humphry Ward
Then his own eyes grew merry, as he glanced at the tearful, dishevelled Theodora.Teddy: Her Book
Anna Chapin Ray
- (esp of hair) hanging loosely
- (of general appearance) unkempt; untidy
- to disarrange (the hair or clothes) of (someone)
Word Origin and History for dishevelled
originally an adjective, "bare-headed," late 14c., variant (with muted final -e) of dishevely, from Old French deschevele "bare-headed, with shaven head," past participle adjective from descheveler "to disarrange the hair," from des- "apart" (see dis-) + chevel "hair," from Latin capillus "hair" (see capillary). Of the hair, "dissheveled," mid-15c. OED says use as a verb is chiefly a back-formation from disheveled.
also dishevelled, early 15c., "without dressed hair," parallel form of dishevel (adj.); see dishevel. General sense of "with disordered dress" is from c.1600.