higgledy-piggledy

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): ˈhɪɡəldiˌpɪɡəldi/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

A reduplicated rhyming compound. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests a possible link to pig, since the animals huddle in irregular groups, but notes that the connection is uncertain. Attested since the late sixteenth century.

Adjective[edit]

higgledy-piggledy (comparative more higgledy-piggledy, superlative most higgledy-piggledy)

  1. In utter disorder or confusion; mixed up.
    I can't find your memo since my desk is all higgledy-piggledy.
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Adverb[edit]

higgledy-piggledy (comparative more higgledy-piggledy, superlative most higgledy-piggledy)

  1. In a confused, disordered, or random way.
    • 1881James Greenwood, Low-Life Deeps, ch 11
      There is no kind of arrangement as regards the buildings they are erected "higgledy-piggledy;" backs to fronts, anyhow, with narrow passages between.
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Noun[edit]

higgledy-piggledy (plural higgledy-piggledies)

  1. A disordered jumble; a confusion.
    • 1779, Thomas Medley, The Shandymonian, subtitle:
      A Higgledy-Piggledy of Controversies and Opinions on various intereſting Subjects
Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Self-reference to the form of the word higgledy-piggledy.

Noun[edit]

higgledy-piggledy (plural higgledy-piggledies)

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

  1. A double-dactyl; a short poem with eight lines in dactylic meter.
    • 1980, Gyles Brandreth, The Joy of Lex, page 123:
      Higgledy-piggledies are more sophisticated than clerihews: they comprise double dactyls and rhymes and aren't always biographical.
  2. Any of various word games using rhyming compounds or dactylic words or phrases.
    • 1994, Herbert Kohl, Masters' Word Game Collection, page 249:
      The games are a bit archaically presented, but they include palindromes, acrostics, higgledy-piggledies, anagrams, etc.