[ sham-buh l ]
/ ˈʃæm bəl /

verb (used without object), sham·bled, sham·bling.

to walk or go awkwardly; shuffle.


a shambling gait.

Nearby words

  1. shamanic,
  2. shamanism,
  3. shamash,
  4. shamateur,
  5. shamba,
  6. shambles,
  7. shambolic,
  8. shame,
  9. shame on you,
  10. shamed

Origin of shamble

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”) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shambling

British Dictionary definitions for shambling


/ (ˈʃæmbəl) /


(intr) to walk or move along in an awkward or unsteady way


an awkward or unsteady walk
Derived Formsshambling, adjective, noun

Word Origin for shamble

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 shambling



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper