Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[hig-uh l-dee-pig-uh l-dee] /ˈhɪg əl diˈpɪg əl di/
in a jumbled, confused, or disorderly manner; helter-skelter.
confused; jumbled.
Origin of higgledy-piggledy
First recorded in 1590-1600; rhyming compound of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for higgledy-piggledy
Historical Examples
  • A paper of tea and a loaf of bread I found in a higgledy-piggledy mixture of clothes, books and papers.

    The Belovd Vagabond William J. Locke
  • All his old values had been kicked into higgledy-piggledy confusion.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • I have heard, by roundabout channel, that Herschel says my book "is the law of higgledy-piggledy."

  • Here we disembarked, higgledy-piggledy, just as we had embarked.

    Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt
  • She plumped into it higgledy-piggledy and curled up, an unsightly, humpful excrescence upon its suave surface.

    Wanted: A Husband Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Among the many industries the higgledy-piggledy Shop boasted was that of laundering fine linen and laces.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman Emma Speed Sampson
  • And here's a Noah's Ark, full of higgledy-piggledy animals—why, what are you doing here?

    The Admiral's Caravan Charles E. Carryl
  • She went in the front door of a cheap boarding house not far from the higgledy-piggledy Shop.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman Emma Speed Sampson
  • The effect would be ludicrous, and give the beds a higgledy-piggledy appearance.

    Beautiful Bulbous Plants John Weathers
  • She had conducted her to the higgledy-piggledy Shop as a place where her fine damask could be laundered well.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman Emma Speed Sampson
British Dictionary definitions for higgledy-piggledy


adjective, adverb
in a jumble
a muddle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for higgledy-piggledy

"confusedly, hurriedly," 1590s, a "vocal gesture" [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal's suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (e.g. hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children's game, attested from c.1600).

Edward Moor, "Suffolk Words and Phrases" (London, 1823), quotes a list of reduplications from Ray's "Collection of English Words" (1768), all said to "signify any confusion or mixture;" the list has higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, hodge-podge, mingle-mangle, arsy-versy, kim-kam, hub-bub, crawly-mauly, and hab-nab. "To which he might have added," Moor writes, crincum-crankum, crinkle-crankle, flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, gibble-gabble, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hiccup-suickup, hocus-pocus, hotch-potch, hugger-mugger, hum-drum, hum-strum, hurry-scurry, jibber-jabber, prittle-prattle, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, and topsy-turvy. Many of them seem to date to the 16th century.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for higgledy-piggledy



Confused; chaotic; messy: I was walking in dark corridors that were all higgledypiggledy

[1598+; origin uncertain; perhaps fr the disorderly herding configuration of pigs]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for higgledy-piggledy

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for higgledy

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for higgledy-piggledy