- The definition of ramshackle is something that is badly in need of repair or that is likely to fall apart.
A house with boarded up windows and a sagging foundation that could fall over at any time is an example of a ramshackle house.
A ramshackle house.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Origin: back-form. from ramshackled, for earlier ransackled, past participle of ransackle, frequentative of ransack
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Origin: Back-formation from obsolete ranshackled, ramshackle, alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle, to ransack, frequentative of Middle English ransaken, to pillage; see ransack.