9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-shev-uh ld] /dɪˈʃɛv əld/
hanging loosely or in disorder; unkempt:
disheveled hair.
untidy; disarranged:
a disheveled appearance.
Also, especially British, dishevelled.
Origin of disheveled
late Middle English
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 forms
undisheveled, adjective
2. rumpled, messy, slovenly, sloppy.


[dih-shev-uh l] /dɪˈʃɛv əl/
verb (used with object), disheveled, disheveling or (especially British) dishevelled, dishevelling.
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.
1590-1600; back formation from disheveled
Related forms
dishevelment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disheveled
  • People look tired, disheveled, but generally excited.
  • Scrawny and disheveled in January, she has put on weight and looks neat, her hair in black ribbons and braids.
  • He looked disheveled, underweight, and could not tell them what year it was.
  • But Utopia was never meant to exist on this disheveled planet.
  • They recognize these creatures despite their oversize sunglasses and disheveled hair.
  • You don't want to arrive at your interview out of breath and disheveled.
  • Even in grainy black-and-white photographs, the temple of books looks awesome, if slightly disheveled.
  • But don't be fooled by the frequently disheveled look.
  • His home life is as disheveled as his lives as a student and football player are successful.
  • He is tall and skinny with an angular face and chronically disheveled hair.
British Dictionary definitions for disheveled


(esp of hair) hanging loosely
(of general appearance) unkempt; untidy
Word Origin
C15 dischevelee, from Old French deschevelé, from des-dis-1 + chevel hair, from Latin capillus


verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to disarrange (the hair or clothes) of (someone)
Derived Forms
dishevelment, 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
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Contemporary definitions for disheveled

messed up or disarrayed, esp. the hair; untidy

Word Origin

Old French descheveler 'to disarrange the hair'

Usage Note

also dishevelled's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for 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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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