Definition of higgledy-piggledy in US English:


adjective & adverb

  • In confusion or disorder.

    as adverb ‘bits of paper hanging higgledy-piggledy on the furniture and walls’
    as adjective ‘a higgledy-piggledy mountain of newspapers’
    • ‘It was the previous owner, John Hegarty, who commissioned Hewett to draw up plans for the new house, a higgledy-piggledy amalgamation of neo-Georgian elements, for which permission was granted.’
    • ‘The site occupies the corner of a somewhat higgledy-piggledy plaza dominated by a small, historic church.’
    • ‘They just put up their houses, shops, and factories wherever seemed most convenient, and the cities grew higgledy-piggledy.’
    • ‘Cobbled streets run higgledy-piggledy through medieval houses which are stacked up along the river's steep banks.’
    • ‘At the Whitney, sculpture must inevitably be crowded - sometimes artfully, sometimes higgledy-piggledy - into a formal museum setting.’
    • ‘Adding to the higgledy-piggledy feel of the pub is the situation of the bar, the main part is in one of the front rooms, with a serving hatch tucked under the stairs in the middle of the pub to serve the other rooms.’
    • ‘The idea for Soho House was born when his landlord at Cafe Bohème offered Jones the higgledy-piggledy offices upstairs.’
    • ‘It's a higgledy-piggledy mess of badly-designed streets and clashing styles.’
    • ‘It was a cramped second-hand book dealership, with a whole wall full of books from more than one hundred years ago, some huge and some miniscule, all higgledy-piggledy, shoved in wherever they fit.’
    • ‘They were seated higgledy-piggledy around the classroom on foldout plastic chairs.’
    • ‘L' Orient, which occupies a higgledy-piggledy old building with a nice view of the high street, was empty and quiet on a Thursday afternoon, as was Pinner.’
    • ‘Look at any hotel brochure and the chairs around the swimming pool are always neat and orderly, not higgledy-piggledy.’
    • ‘The tables were higgledy-piggledy, and the whole place was set out as if it had originally been as unlike a café as it was possible to be, and the owner had hastily attempted to correct this.’
    • ‘Houses of pale limestone rise higgledy-piggledy from the harbour, connected by a labyrinth of stepped alleyways.’
    disordered, disorderly, untidy, disorganized, messy, chaotic, jumbled, muddled, confused, unsystematic, irregular, cluttered, littered
    in disorder, in a muddle, in a jumble, in disarray, in a disorganized manner, untidily, haphazardly, indiscriminately, in a mess, in confusion, in a heap, anyhow, any old how, pell-mell, topsy-turvy
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Late 16th century: rhyming jingle, probably with reference to the irregular herding together of pigs.