verb (used with object)

to put out of array or order; throw into disorder.
to undress.


disorder; confusion: The army retreated in disarray.
disorder of apparel.

Origin of disarray

1350–1400; (noun) late Middle English; Middle English disrai, d(e)rai < Anglo-French dissairay, Old French desaroi; (v.) Middle English disarayen < Anglo-French desaraier, Old French desareer; see dis-1, array
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disarray

Contemporary Examples of disarray

Historical Examples of disarray

  • For a few seconds she lay in her helpless attitude and disarray.


    Bram Stoker

  • Forgetful of every convention and of her disarray, she seized his hand.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England

  • About her she peered in vain for something to protect her disarray.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England

  • Beyond this disarray stood the easel, still holding the mother's portrait.

    Ewing\'s Lady

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Miss Tapp, unaware of the disarray of her nightgown, sat upright.

    Stopover Planet

    Robert E. Gilbert

British Dictionary definitions for disarray



confusion, dismay, and lack of discipline
(esp of clothing) disorderliness; untidiness

verb (tr)

to throw into confusion
archaic to undress
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

Word Origin and History for disarray

late 14c.; see dis- "lack of" + array. Perhaps formed on the analogy of Old French desareer.


early 15c., "disorder, confusion;" see disarray (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper