- shambles, (used with a singular or plural verb)
- a slaughterhouse.
- any place of carnage.
- any scene of destruction: to turn cities into shambles.
- any scene, place, or thing in disorder: Her desk is a shambles.
- British Dialect. a butcher's shop or stall.
Origin of shamble1
- to walk or go awkwardly; shuffle.
- a shambling gait.
Origin of shamble2
Examples from the Web for shambles
And as a guarantee of a Third World economy in shambles, Scotland is oil-rich.Up to a Point: A Free Scotland Would Be a Hilarious Disaster
P. J. O’Rourke
September 13, 2014
The unity government that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas established with Hamas is now in shambles.There Is No Moral Equivalent to the Murder of Three Israeli Teenagers
July 2, 2014
But even the most ardent supporters of negotiations with the Taliban recognize that the so-called peace process is in shambles.Karzai Gambles with the Taliban
January 28, 2014
Brilliant as he is in the courtroom, his self-destructive personality leaves his personal life in shambles.Fall-Winter TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2013–14’s New Shows
Jace Lacob, Kevin Fallon
July 16, 2013
The fatherland is a shambles, Bolivarian socialism has failed, and Comandante Chávez is dead.Hugo Chávez Dead at 58: Good Riddance!
March 5, 2013
He staggered back to his room like a bullock to its pen after it has had its death-blow in the shambles.The Christian
The place was become a shambles, and the very kennels ran with blood.The Tavern Knight
And the shambles he had seen there couldn't have been done by human beings.Decision
Frank M. Robinson
When asked what it was like in there Mr. Nicholas B. muttered the only word "Shambles."Some Reminiscences
When asked what it was like in there, Mr. Nicholas B. muttered only the word "Shambles."A Personal Record
- a place of great disorderthe room was a shambles after the party
- a place where animals are brought to be slaughtered
- any place of slaughter or carnage
- British dialect a row of covered stalls or shops where goods, originally meat, are sold
- (intr) to walk or move along in an awkward or unsteady way
- an awkward or unsteady walk
Word Origin and History for shambles
early 15c., "meat or fish market," from schamil "table, stall for vending" (c.1300), from Old English scamol, scomul "stool, footstool (also figurative); bench, table for vending," an early West Germanic borrowing (cf. Old Saxon skamel "stool," Middle Dutch schamel, Old High German scamel, German schemel, Danish skammel "footstool") from Latin scamillus "low stool, a little bench," ultimately a diminutive of scamnum "stool, bench," from PIE root *skabh- "to prop up, support." In English, sense evolved from "place where meat is sold" to "slaughterhouse" (1540s), then figuratively "place of butchery" (1590s), and generally "confusion, mess" (1901, usually in plural).
"to walk with a shuffling gait, walk awkwardly and unsteadily," 1680s, from an adjective meaning "ungainly, awkward" (c.1600), from shamble (n.) "table, bench" (see shambles), perhaps on the notion of the splayed legs of bench, or the way a worker sits astride it. Cf. French bancal "bow-legged, wobbly" (of furniture), properly "bench-legged," from banc "bench." The noun meaning "a shambling gait" is from 1828. Related: Shambled; shambling.