Definition of shambles in English:


Syllabification: sham·bles
Pronunciation: /ˈSHambəlz


[treated as singular]
1 informal A state of total disorder: my career was in a shambles
More example sentences
  • I think the border is in a shambles of smuggling, pollution, contagious diseases.
  • I don't want to come home and find my half in a shambles.
  • In 1853, Louisa Dalton Bird Cunningham was aboard a steamer on the Potomac sailing from Philadelphia to her plantation in South Carolina when she saw Mount Vernon in a shambles.
chaos, mess, muddle, confusion, disorder, havoc, mare's nest
informal dog's breakfast, train wreck
mess, pigsty
informal disaster area
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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