Definition of shambles in English:


Syllabification: sham·bles
Pronunciation: /ˈSHambəlz


[treated as singular]
  • 2A butcher’s slaughterhouse (archaic except in place names).
    More example sentences
    • The butchers' shambles, where animals were slaughtered and sold on Sundays, abutted the courthouse.
    • Adjacent land was added to the market in the 1360s to bring butchers' stalls together into one spot as a shambles.
  • 2.1A scene of carnage: the room was a shambles—their throats had been cut and they lay in a waste of blood


late Middle English (in the sense 'meat market'): plural of earlier shamble 'stool, stall', from Latin scamellum, diminutive of scamnum 'bench'.

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