SKIP TO CONTENT

higgledy-piggledy

When something happens higgledy-piggledy, it's chaotic and disorganized. If you build your Lego tower higgledy-piggledy, it may end up too tall and narrow, making it that much easier for your brother to knock it over.

You can use this word, known as a "reduplicated phrase" for the rhyming repetition of its sounds, as an adjective and an adverb. So your dad may object to the higgledy-piggledy state of your room, and you might respond by throwing everything higgledy-piggledy into your closet. It's a great word that perfectly illustrates disorder or confusion. Unlike other reduplicated phrases such as hanky-panky or helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy is a rare double dactyl, a repeated three-syllable word that stresses the first syllable.

Definitions of higgledy-piggledy
  1. adverb
    in a disordered manner
    “they were piled up higgledy-piggledy
    synonyms: topsy-turvy
  2. adjective
    in utter disorder
    synonyms: disorderly, hugger-mugger, jumbled, topsy-turvy
    untidy
    not neat and tidy
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week