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Is it ok to say

Put things in disorder

meaning making a mess of things?

Or does it sound weird?

I'm asking because apparently the phrase 'put things in order' exists and is totally fine.

How about the opposite?

1 Answer 1

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It is a little odd. The word "put" suggests a methodical approach of deliberately placing things in a certain way. But disorder suggests a lack of such a method.

I'd prefer

disorder things.

or more naturally, your expression:

make a mess (of things).

In specific contexts (such as a method to randomly disorder a list) you can use "shuffle" or "randomize".

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  • 1
    Another word that comes to mind is "scramble". Apr 14, 2021 at 16:03
  • "Throw" is a good verb to replace "put" here. I've certainly heard people refer to things being thrown into disorder before. Apr 14, 2021 at 17:43
  • @FredLarson thank you! Can I say, 'I don't like when people scramble my things'?
    – i_yre_b
    Apr 14, 2021 at 18:23
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    @AdmiralJota thank you!
    – i_yre_b
    Apr 14, 2021 at 18:25
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    It would work as a deliberate play on words, kind of like a "ruly crowd" or "kempt hair". But yeah, it would not be common usage by any means. Apr 14, 2021 at 21:29

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