Too Many Shades of Disheveled?

By Maeve Maddox

Mad cow illness annihilated English cattle herds in the 1980s and 1990s
The paper has been annihilated by market pressures
Supreme Courts Latest Ruling Could Decimate Public Sector Unions

A words original meaning frequently expands over time. One meaning was “to tithe,” but the sense that has offered us the English word associated to destruction is from a Roman military practice:
To choose by lot and put to death one in every 10 of (a body of soldiers guilty of mutiny or other crime): a practice in the ancient Roman army, sometimes followed in later times.
From this particular meaning, annihilate has broadened to imply “to damage or get rid of a big percentage of; to subject to serious loss, massacre, or death.”

Occasionally I discover comments from persnickety purists who insist that decimate should be utilized just in a context that has something to do with the number 10, and I shake my head. Significances shift. They expand.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the word dishevel, I discover myself slipping into the ranks of the persnickety.
Like the dec in decimate, the shevel in dishevel has a Latin origin: capillus (hair).
English disheveled (Br. dishevelled), the past participle of a verb that originally meant, “To loosen up and throw the hair about in condition,” originates from the French word for “head of hair”: chevelure. French descheveler suggested, “to disarrange the hair.”
Borrowed into English with the significance, “hair hanging loose and thrown about in condition,” the word came to represent a disordered individual appearance that consisted of clothing.
In its initial sense of messy hair, the word has actually ended up being vital to explain British PM Boris Johnson:

By extension, dishevel can also use to an individuals clothes and living environment.

A note in the entry in Merriam-Webster explains that disheveled has been used for things besides hair considering that the early seventeenth century, however the word is so splendidly specific, it seems a waste to use it to explain something that doesnt have hair or feathers or some kind of excrescence that can be ruffled. I question the following uses of the word.
The pertinent job was to redevelop a run-down community.
Other factors such as oil advancement … have entirely disheveled the wildlife and plants populations.
I can see how oil advancement might decimate wildlife and plant life populations, however dishevel them?
The queue meanders to the west of the hotel entryway, past disheveled and crumbling statuary …
Statuary, even crumbling statuary, would have its hair in place.
Dishevel and disheveled, like rumpled, tousled, and neglected, are closely related to hair and personal appearance. In a less individual context, perhaps another word might serve instead of disheveled to indicate a state of untidiness. A few possibilities: chaotic, cluttered, baffled, disarranged, disordered, jumbled, littered, untidy, untidy, run-down.

a spirit in disheveled clothing remaining on the side of the roadway and waiting to hitch a flight.–.
The authorities looked into your house from a sliding glass door and saw different boxes of electronic devices and your house appeared rather disheveled.

Figuratively, dishevel can explain a persons inner self:.

Frankensteins outward grace and sophistication masks his disheveled soul within.
The disheveled mind needs to be avoided from the early years; the cultivated mind is the organized one.

Dishevelled Boris Johnson returns to deal with Commons disobedience– The Irish Times
Do not be deceived by his shabby appearance, the Tory leadership hopefuls strategic dishevelment is his Trojan horse.– The Financial Times
At Eton, AB Johnson became ” Boris”– rather classy, extremely English, rather eccentric and the deeply unique, intentionally dishevelled character we know now.– BBC News

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One significance was “to tithe,” however the sense that has provided us the English word associated to destruction is from a Roman military practice:
English disheveled (Br. French descheveler meant, “to disarrange the hair.”
Dishevel and disheveled, like rumpled, tousled, and unkempt, are carefully associated with hair and personal appearance. In a less personal context, possibly another word might serve rather of disheveled to suggest a state of untidiness.

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