- The definition of a shambles is a state or condition of complete disorder.
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.
- Brit. a place where meat is sold; butcher's stall or shop: now only a local usage, esp. in street names
- a slaughterhouse
- a scene of great slaughter, bloodshed, or carnage
- any scene or condition of great destruction or disorder: rooms left a shambles by conventioneers
Origin of shamblesMiddle English schamel, bench, as for displaying meat for sale ; from Old English scamol, bench or stool, akin to German schemel ; from early West Germanic borrowing ; from Classical Latin scamellum, diminutive ; from scamnum, bench ; from Indo-European base an unverified form skabh-, an unverified form skambh-, to prop up from source Sanskrit skámbhana-, a support
plural noun(used with a sing. verb)
- a. A scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin: “The economy was in a shambles” (W. Bruce Lincoln).b. Great clutter or jumble; a total mess: made dinner and left the kitchen a shambles.
- a. A place or scene of bloodshed or carnage.b. A scene or condition of great devastation.
- A slaughterhouse.
- Archaic A meat market or butcher shop.
Origin of shamblesFrom Middle English shamel, shambil, place where meat is butchered and sold, from Old English sceamol, table, counter (as one on which items for sale are placed), from Latin scabillum, scamillum, diminutive of scamnum, bench, stool.
- third-person singular simple present indicative form of shamble
From Old English scamul. A borrowing from Vulgar Latin scamellum, diminutive of Latin scamnum (“bench").