Definition of disorder in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dɪsˈɔːdə/


[mass noun]
1A state of confusion: the world 's currency markets were in disorder
More example sentences
  • In fact, from the moment her family jumped in the car to go on their yearly camping trip, her life was full of chaos, disorder and confusion.
  • Looking at the current list, with almost every line scribbled out and switched around, there remains considerable disorder and confusion among the students.
  • Judging by Andy's experience, the Greek courts are a forum for disorder and confusion.
untidiness, disorderliness, mess, disarray, disorganization, chaos, confusion;
clutter, jumble;
a muddle, a mess, a shambles, a mare's nest
British informal a dog's dinner, a dog's breakfast, an omnishambles
1.1The breakdown of peaceful and law-abiding public behaviour: recurrent food crises led to outbreaks of disorder
More example sentences
  • The White Paper anticipated that it would be used as the most usual charge in relation to serious outbreaks of public disorder.
  • He said Gardaí were stretched from their commitments in policing the EU presidency, combating public disorder and fighting terrorism.
  • The operation has led to four arrests for public disorder, breach of an anti-social behaviour order and of a defendant who missed court.
unrest, disturbance, disruption, upheaval, tumult, turmoil, mayhem, pandemonium;
violence, fighting;
rioting, insurrection, rebellion, mutiny, lawlessness, anarchy;
breach of the peace, riot, fracas, rumpus, brouhaha, melee, hubbub, furore, affray
informal hoo-ha, aggro, argy-bargy, snafu
North American informal wilding
1.2 [count noun] Medicine An illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions: skin disorders [mass noun]: an improved understanding of mental disorder
More example sentences
  • What is achieved by concluding that schizophrenia and other functional mental illnesses are disorders of the brain?
  • My Dad always thought I had some sort of disorder where my eyes confused themselves or something.
  • Any sportsman who experienced warning symptoms such as fainting during training or with a family history of sudden death should be screened an tested for signs of cardiac disorder.
disease, infection, complaint, problem, condition, affliction, malady, sickness, illness, ailment, infirmity;
defect, irregularity
informal bug, virus
British informal lurgy


[with object] (usually as adjective disordered)
1Disrupt the systematic functioning or neat arrangement of: she went to comb her disordered hair his sleep is disordered
More example sentences
  • Her hair was disordered but she wouldn't care this day, nor had she cared any other day.
  • Her hair was tangled and disordered, forming wispy curls towards the front.
  • The Forum helped blacks clean up their increasingly disordered neighborhoods and point their children toward success.
untidy, unkempt, messy, in a mess, disarranged, uncombed, unbrushed, ungroomed, tousled, tangled, tangly, knotted, knotty, matted, shaggy, straggly, windswept, windblown, wild;
disorganized, chaotic, confused, jumbled, muddled, unsystematic, out of order, out of place
informal ratty
North American informal mussed (up), all over the place
British informal shambolic
archaic draggle-tailed
1.1 Medicine Disrupt the normal functioning of: a patient who is mentally disordered
More example sentences
  • The present policy dividing inpatient care of mentally disordered prisoners between the prison service and the NHS needs reconsideration.
  • The dentition is normally disordered in three separate ways and I'll give them each a D word so you can remember it.
  • We have seen it with antidepressants in adults and methylphenidate in behaviourally disordered children.
dysfunctional, disturbed, unsettled, unbalanced, unstable, unsound, upset, poorly, sick, diseased
informal screwed up


Late 15th century (as a verb): alteration, influenced by order, of earlier disordain, from Old French desordener, ultimately based on Latin ordinare 'ordain'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|order

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.