Have you ever been tempted to tell your child, “You look completely disheveled. Go shevel yourself”?
Can you be “disheveled” if you’ve never been “sheveled,” or is it “heveled”? It’s neither. “Disheveled” is another “lonely negative,” a negation of a nonexistent word.
“Disheveled,” which is pronounced /di-SHEH-vuhld/, not as I have sometimes heard it, /*dis-HEH-vuhld/, means ‘messy, disordered, untidy, especially in reference to someone’s appearance.’ It comes from the late Middle English word, now obsolete, “dishevely,” which derives from Old French deschevelé, past participle of descheveler (based on chevel ‘hair,’ from Latin capillus). Originally it meant ‘having the hair uncovered’ and later it referred to the hair itself, hanging loose, and so messy or untidy.