Definition of disorder in US English:



  • 1A state of confusion.

    ‘tiresome days of mess and disorder’
    • ‘It was that taken as a whole the night yielded an unmistakable sense of decay and disorder.’
    • ‘Decay and disorder are seen in reverse, as increasing.’
    • ‘A tidy room dissolves into disorder and confusion in a matter of moments.’
    • ‘My mind was in such a whir of confusion and disorder.’
    • ‘Looking at the current list, with almost every line scribbled out and switched around, there remains considerable disorder and confusion among the students.’
    • ‘I knew that I needed to abstract what I wanted from the general confusion and the disorder of the scene.’
    • ‘The implementation of that policy has been a disaster: the legacy is one of disorder and decay.’
    • ‘The lack of management will cause disorder, confusion, wastage, delay, destruction and even depression.’
    • ‘The term, meaning a state of intense disorder or confusion, is commonly applied to loud bands who offer a somewhat masochistic listening experience.’
    • ‘Jack trails behind, his eyes still searching the place for some sign of disorder.’
    • ‘But the unpredictable disorder of markets is, in Microsoft parlance, not a bug but a feature.’
    • ‘But the market is in disorder, overrun by fake and inferior goods.’
    • ‘The latter argued that economic independence (an essential ingredient for citizenship among men) caused disorder and decay in women.’
    • ‘Judging by Andy's experience, the Greek courts are a forum for disorder and confusion.’
    • ‘Both men acknowledge a state of modern urban disorder and confusion.’
    • ‘No one seems the least outraged that traders seek profit from this confusion and disorder.’
    • ‘He was inclined to view this as a sign of disorder, but he has learnt that a clean-up session which gets them out of sight is not appreciated by his regular customers.’
    • ‘This too, then, accounts for some of the apparent confusion and disorder in the world.’
    • ‘‘If there isn't enough time to figure this out, we'll see disorder in the market next year,’ she said.’
    • ‘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.’
    untidiness, disorderliness, mess, disarray, disorganization, chaos, confusion
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    1. 1.1 The disruption of peaceful and law-abiding behavior.
      ‘recurrent food crises led to periodic outbreaks of disorder’
      • ‘Binge drinking is the latest word being used to describe what was once a social thing but is now marked by violence, public disorder and a long road towards poor health and alcoholism.’
      • ‘Hamilton Terrace was particularly busy and two men were arrested for public disorder offences after a disturbance on New Year's Eve.’
      • ‘The arrests were made for a range of alleged offences including racist chanting and violent disorder when the teams met at Wednesday's Hillsborough ground on Saturday.’
      • ‘The Goldwater delegates in San Francisco were not very sympathetic to these signs of social disorder, nor to any Republicans they felt might be too soft on such forces.’
      • ‘Both were fined 900 leva for causing public disorder.’
      • ‘Whilst disorder hereabouts is at a lower level, public disorder and crimes in public areas are an important issue.’
      • ‘He sets off towards the front line, hoping to make good his promise of humanitarian care, but finds yet more confusion and disorder at odds with his clinical skills.’
      • ‘The White Paper anticipated that it would be used as the most usual charge in relation to serious outbreaks of public disorder.’
      • ‘Complaints have been made to the police of threats and intimidation, assaults, criminal damage and public disorder.’
      • ‘‘We are concerned about the rise in alcohol-fuelled disorder, fights and disturbances in public places,’ said Sir Ian.’
      • ‘It also argues that waiting times create a gap in the market, partly filled by illegal cabs, while a limited taxi supply can add to police problems in dealing with late night public disorder.’
      • ‘The operation has led to four arrests for public disorder, breach of an anti-social behaviour order and of a defendant who missed court.’
      • ‘Last year 50 people were arrested in York and Selby in the run-up to Christmas for incidents ranging from drunken domestic disputes to assaults and public disorder.’
      • ‘In addition, the presence of wardens is one of the swiftest ways to reduce the petty crimes - graffiti, litter and vandalism - which are the early signs of disorder.’
      • ‘Teenage yobs are to be forced to wear US-style uniforms as they carry out community service punishments under plans for a new high-visibility crackdown on public disorder.’
      • ‘He said Gardaí were stretched from their commitments in policing the EU presidency, combating public disorder and fighting terrorism.’
      • ‘You're right to call attention to the role Police played in bringing disorder, violence and confusion about.’
      • ‘In the weeks before the parade Wilson insisted the organisation would take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to public disorder and sectarian abuse.’
      • ‘Bratton's attack on street disorder has dramatically improved public space downtown, according to local businesses.’
      • ‘It was suggested that any sign of social disorder in a community would serve as an enticement to others to break the law.’
      unrest, disturbance, disruption, upheaval, tumult, turmoil, mayhem, pandemonium
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    2. 1.2Medicine A disruption of normal physical or mental functions; a disease or abnormal condition.
      ‘eating disorders’
      ‘an improved understanding of mental disorder’
      • ‘And habits that are in response to obsessive thoughts may be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder.’
      • ‘What is achieved by concluding that schizophrenia and other functional mental illnesses are disorders of the brain?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My Dad always thought I had some sort of disorder where my eyes confused themselves or something.’
      • ‘Patients with CFS often complain of myalgias and arthralgias, but exhibit no diagnostic signs of musculoskeletal disorder.’
      disease, infection, complaint, problem, condition, dysfunction, affliction, malady, sickness, illness, ailment, infirmity, disability
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[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’
    • ‘The life of the autobiographer is fittingly tumultuous and disordered.’
    • ‘I may be objectively disordered but I've been celibate all my life!’
    • ‘Her hair was disordered but she wouldn't care this day, nor had she cared any other day.’
    • ‘There are passages where the narrative flounders, information is disordered and the author loses focus, veering from rich narrative to dry anthropology.’
    • ‘I leave trails of books, clothes and empty coffee mugs behind me everywhere I go, and then despair at how disordered the house is.’
    • ‘And this looseness and blowsiness is not anything as simple and scandalous as abrupt and disordered syntax.’
    • ‘Can economists be really relied upon as forecasters when they try to place a framework of order or rationality on a world that is fundamentally disordered?’
    • ‘We shuffle them and they are jumbled - disordered.’
    • ‘Old memories floated around her, disordered and chaotic.’
    • ‘These are the things that we fear will disorder our lives and undo us, these are the things we wish we could control but cannot, they are out of reach of law and our conscious will.’
    • ‘Instead they consist of chairs with elongated legs, cast from lead and steel, which are arranged as though violently disordered.’
    • ‘What if something we take for granted, something utterly predictable, suddenly became unpredictable and chaotic and disordered?’
    • ‘So his letters are astonishingly disordered and strange.’
    • ‘The temptation is not sinful, but it remains disordered.’
    • ‘The Forum helped blacks clean up their increasingly disordered neighborhoods and point their children toward success.’
    • ‘Her hair was tangled and disordered, forming wispy curls towards the front.’
    • ‘If a state is thought to be so disordered that it can't administer its own justice, the remedy is not an outside court but a new government.’
    • ‘They seem to find meaning or pattern in what outsiders consider so disordered.’
    • ‘She has the knack of highlighting many of the cultural forces and influences that so disorder our sexuality as moderns.’
    • ‘Shifting between ordered streets and disordered streets provides the rich variation only a truly urban space is capable of.’
    untidy, unkempt, messy, in a mess, disarranged, uncombed, unbrushed, ungroomed, tousled, tangled, tangly, knotted, knotty, matted, shaggy, straggly, windswept, windblown, wild
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    1. 1.1Medicine Disrupt the healthy or normal functioning of.
      ‘a patient who is mentally disordered’
      • ‘The dentition is normally disordered in three separate ways and I'll give them each a D word so you can remember it.’
      • ‘The present policy dividing inpatient care of mentally disordered prisoners between the prison service and the NHS needs reconsideration.’
      • ‘And, just like adult prisoners, the most severely disordered children also suffer from the blockages which obstruct their transfer to secure hospitals.’
      • ‘This is due to the physiologic changes that occur with aging, in which the heart's conduction system becomes disordered.’
      • ‘We have seen it with antidepressants in adults and methylphenidate in behaviourally disordered children.’
      dysfunctional, disturbed, unsettled, unbalanced, unstable, unsound, upset, poorly, sick, diseased
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Late 15th century (as a verb): alteration, influenced by order, of earlier disordain, from Old French desordener, ultimately based on Latin ordinare ‘ordain’.