*Adverb: describes an action that is performed in a confused or disorderly fashion.

*Adjective: mixed up, topsy-turvy or disorderly.

Pronunciation: hi-gəl-dē-ˈpi-gəl-dē\


Unknown. Its first known use occurred in 1598. The Free Dictionary suggests that the word higgledy–piggledy was possibly inspired by pigs because of the connection between pigs and messy surroundings.

Alternative forms: higgledypiggledy

Why this word?

I spotted higgledy-piggledy while I was skimming through a book on design. It is a fun word to pronounce and it’s a lot more interesting to say “higgledy-piggledy” than messy or disorderly.

How and when to use this word in a sentence?

We had to hire a cleaning crew because the artist’s higgledy-piggledy painting technique created paint stains on portions of the floor.

He found the envelope underneath the higgledy-piggledy stack of papers on his desk.


About Author

Rachelle Nones holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and has completed coursework in linguistics, English and American literature, and the history of the English language. The dictionary is one of her favorite books! Follow her on Twitter: @rachellenones

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