characterized by disorder; irregular; untidy; confused: a disorderly desk.
unruly; turbulent; tumultuous: a disorderly mob.
Law. contrary to public order or morality.


in a disorderly manner.

Origin of disorderly

First recorded in 1555–65; dis-1 + orderly
Related formsdis·or·der·li·ness, nounun·dis·or·der·ly, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disorderly

Contemporary Examples of disorderly

Historical Examples of disorderly

  • There was a whole hierarchy of respect, outside of which existence was unrestrained and disorderly.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Flushed with victory, the troops were found riotous and disorderly.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Then, pushing them together into a disorderly heap, she started to her feet and faced him.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • The Chinaman stokers went in a disorderly rush for the port boats.

    End of the Tether

    Joseph Conrad

  • The room was a large one, very dirty, ill-furnished, and disorderly.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for disorderly



untidy; irregular
uncontrolled; unruly
law violating public peace or order


in an irregular or confused manner
Derived Formsdisorderliness, noun
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 disorderly

1580s, "opposed to moral order," also "opposed to legal authority;" see dis- + orderly (adj.). The meaning "untidy" is attested from 1630s; the older senses are those in disorderly house, disorderly conduct, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper