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disheveled

[dih-shev-uh ld]
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adjective
  1. hanging loosely or in disorder; unkempt: disheveled hair.
  2. untidy; disarranged: a disheveled appearance.
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Also especially British, di·shev·elled.

Origin of disheveled

1375–1425; late Middle English discheveled < Old French deschevele, past participle of descheveler to dishevel the hair, equivalent to des- dis-1 + -cheveler, derivative of chevel a hair < Latin capillus
Related formsun·di·shev·eled, adjective

Synonyms

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2. rumpled, messy, slovenly, sloppy.

dishevel

[dih-shev-uh l]
verb (used with object), di·shev·eled, di·shev·el·ing or (especially British) di·shev·elled, di·shev·el·ling.
  1. to let down, as hair, or wear or let hang in loose disorder, as clothing.
  2. to cause untidiness and disarray in: The wind disheveled the papers on the desk.
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Origin of dishevel

First recorded in 1590–1600; back formation from disheveled
Related formsdi·shev·el·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for disheveled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His all-night ride from Cherbourg had left him disheveled, unshaven and hungry.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • He was disheveled, surprised and angry, but Garlock gave him no chance to speak.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • With his fingers he gingerly parted his wet, disheveled hair.

    The White Mice

    Richard Harding Davis

  • The other advanced a step, looking a trifle pale and disheveled.

    Lodusky

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • He was disheveled, but his manner was as imperturbable as ever.

    Tarrano the Conqueror

    Raymond King Cummings


British Dictionary definitions for disheveled

dishevel

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to disarrange (the hair or clothes) of (someone)
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Derived Formsdishevelment, noun

Word Origin

C15: back formation from dishevelled
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 disheveled

adj.

also dishevelled, early 15c., "without dressed hair," parallel form of dishevel (adj.); see dishevel. General sense of "with disordered dress" is from c.1600.

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dishevel

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper