verb (used with object), di·shev·eled, di·shev·el·ing or (especially British) di·shev·elled, di·shev·el·ling.
- 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.
- hanging loosely or in disorder; unkempt: disheveled hair.
- untidy; disarranged: a disheveled appearance.
- (esp of hair) hanging loosely
- (of general appearance) unkempt; untidy
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
- to disarrange (the hair or clothes) of (someone)
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.
also dishevelled, early 15c., “without dressed hair,” parallel form of dishevel (adj.); see dishevel. General sense of “with disordered dress” is from c.1600.