The definition of a shambles is a state or condition of complete disorder.(noun)
An example of a shambles is an extremely messy house after a teen has a huge party when his parents are away for the weekend.
See shambles in Webster's New World College Dictionary
Origin: ME schamel, bench, as for displaying meat for sale < OE scamol, bench or stool, akin to Ger schemel < early WGmc borrowing < L scamellum, dim. < scamnum, bench < IE base *skabh-, *skambh-, to prop up > Sans skámbhana-, a support
See shambles in American Heritage Dictionary 4
plural noun (used with a sing. verb)
Origin: From Middle English shamel, shambil, place where meat is butchered and sold
Origin: , from Old English sceamol, table
Origin: , from Latin scabillum, scamillum
Origin: , diminutive of scamnum, bench, stool. Word History: A place or situation referred to as a shambles is usually a mess, but it is no longer always the bloody mess it once was. The history of the word begins innocently enough with the Latin word scamnum, “a stool or bench serving as a seat, step, or support for the feet, for example.” The diminutive scamillum, “low stool,” was borrowed by speakers of Old English as sceamol, “stool, bench, table.” Old English sceamol became Middle English shamel, which developed the specific sense in the singular and plural of “a place where meat is butchered and sold.” The Middle English compound shamelhouse meant “slaughterhouse,” a sense that the plural shambles developed (first recorded in 1548) along with the figurative sense “a place or scene of bloodshed” (first recorded in 1593). Our current, more generalized meaning, “a scene or condition of disorder,” is first recorded in 1926.
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