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[sham-buh l]
See more synonyms for shamble on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), sham·bled, sham·bling.
  1. to walk or go awkwardly; shuffle.
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  1. a shambling gait.
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Origin of shamble2

1675–85; perhaps short for shamble-legs one that walks wide (i.e., as if straddling), reminiscent of the legs of a shamble1 (in earlier sense “butcher's table”)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shambled

Historical Examples

  • "It's the Honourable Rossi," said a lad who had shambled up.

    The Eternal City

    Hall Caine

  • Brother Peter shambled out, and then Paul and Greta were left alone.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Peter grumbled something beneath his breath and shambled out.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • A gaunt old fellow, with only one arm, shambled into the room.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • A small, shabby man arose from a bench and shambled forward.

    The Crimson Tide

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for shambled


  1. (intr) to walk or move along in an awkward or unsteady way
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  1. an awkward or unsteady walk
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Derived Formsshambling, adjective, noun

Word Origin

C17: from shamble (adj) ungainly, perhaps from the phrase shamble legs legs resembling those of a meat vendor's table; see shambles
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for shambled



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper