Dictionary: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


[hig-uh l-dee-pig-uh l-dee] /ˈhɪg əl diˈpɪg əl di/

in a jumbled, confused, or disorderly manner; helter-skelter.
confused; jumbled.
adjective, adverb
in a jumble
a muddle

“confusedly, hurriedly,” 1590s, a “vocal gesture” [OED] probably formed from pig and the animal’s suggestions of mess and disorder. Reduplications in the h-/p- pattern are common (e.g. hanky-panky, hocus-pocus, hinch(y)-pinch(y), an obsolete children’s game, attested from c.1600).

Edward Moor, “Suffolk Words and Phrases” (London, 1823), quotes a list of reduplications from Ray’s “Collection of English Words” (1768), all said to “signify any confusion or mixture;” the list has higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, hodge-podge, mingle-mangle, arsy-versy, kim-kam, hub-bub, crawly-mauly, and hab-nab. “To which he might have added,” Moor writes, crincum-crankum, crinkle-crankle, flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, gibble-gabble, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hiccup-suickup, hocus-pocus, hotch-potch, hugger-mugger, hum-drum, hum-strum, hurry-scurry, jibber-jabber, prittle-prattle, shilly-shally, tittle-tattle, and topsy-turvy. Many of them seem to date to the 16th century.


Confused; chaotic; messy: I was walking in dark corridors that were all higgledypiggledy

[1598+; origin uncertain; perhaps fr the disorderly herding configuration of pigs]


Read Also:

  • Higgler

    [hig-ler] /ˈhɪg lər/ noun 1. a peddler or huckster.

  • Higgs-boson

    [higz] /hɪgz/ noun, Physics. 1. a hypothetical type of heavy, electrically neutral particle with zero spin. /hɪɡz/ noun 1. (physics) an elementary particle with zero spin and mass greater than zero, predicted to exist by electroweak theory and other gauge theories Also called (informal) God particle noun See God particle Higgs boson (hĭgz) A hypothetical, […]

  • High

    [hahy] /haɪ/ adjective, higher, highest. 1. having a great or considerable extent or reach upward or vertically; lofty; tall: a high wall. 2. having a specified extent upward: The apple tree is now 20 feet high. 3. situated above the ground or some base; elevated: a high platform; a high ledge. 4. exceeding the common […]

  • High-and-mighty

    [hahy-uh n-mahy-tee, -uh nd-] /ˈhaɪ ənˈmaɪ ti, -ənd-/ adjective 1. haughty; arrogant. noun 1. (used with a plural verb) persons who are members of or identify with the higher social strata of society, especially those who are powerful or arrogant (usually preceded by the). adverb 2. in a self-important, grandiose, or arrogant manner: They talk […]

Disclaimer: Higgledy-piggledy definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.