• definitions

higgledy piggledy

[ hig-uh l-dee-pig-uh l-dee ]SEE DEFINITION OF higgledy piggledy
  • as inhiggledy-piggledy
  • as inhelter-skelter

Synonyms for higgledy piggledy

  • anarchic
  • blurred
  • chaotic
  • disarranged
  • disordered
  • disorderly
  • disorganized
  • haywire
  • helter-skelter
  • in a muddle
  • in disarray
  • involved
  • jumbled
  • messy
  • miscalculated
  • miscellaneous
  • mistaken
  • misunderstood
  • obscured
  • out of order
  • snafu
  • snarled
  • top
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"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.