Photo of Woody Allen to illustrate the vocabulary word "disheveled"
Woody Allen in a state of dishevelment.


What does “disheveled” mean?

Part of Speech: ADJECTIVE

Pronunciations: IPA: /dɪ.ˈʃɛ.vəld/ Glossary-style: [dih-SHEH-vuhld]

Definition: messy, sloppy; in a state of disorganization (Ex: disheveled hair).

Example: Flopsy never brushed or combed her hair, a habit that gave her a disheveled look that she liked but her parents did not.

Discussion: Imagine you’re wearing nice, clean, wrinkle-freed clothes, like the clothes you might wear if you work in an office. Now imagine that you’ve slept all night in these clothes, and you wake up in the morning wearing them. How would you look? Would your clothes still have that nice, crisp appearance they had the day before? Most likely not. And your hair—would it still be neat and orderly? Again, most likely not. Your clothes would likely be wrinkled and loose. And your hair would be in a state of disarray.

And if you’re able to imagine all that, then you’re imagining things that look disheveled.

Now, one more point—some people actually cultivate the disheveled look, especially with their hair. They tend to think the nicely-combed hair their mothers liked so much doesn’t look cool, so they try to mess their hair up a bit. Look at rock stars through the ages—they very often have disheveled hair.

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