Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

shambles

play
noun plural but singular or plural in construction sham·bles \ˈsham-bəlz\

Simple Definition of shambles

  • : a place or state in which there is great confusion, disorder, or destruction

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shambles

  1. 1 archaic :  a meat market

  2. 2 :  slaughterhouse

  3. 3a :  a place of mass slaughter or bloodshed <the battlefield became a shambles>b :  a scene or a state of great destruction :  wreckage <the city was a shambles after the bombing>c (1) :  a scene or a state of great disorder or confusion <an economy in shambles> (2) :  great confusion :  mess

Origin of shambles

Middle English shameles, plural of schamel vendor's table, footstool, from Old English sceamol stool, from Latin scamillum, diminutive of scamnum stool, bench; perhaps akin to Sanskrit skambha pillar


First Known Use: 15th century


SHAMBLES Defined for Kids

shambles

play
noun plural sham·bles \ˈsham-bəlz\

Definition of shambles for Students

  1. :  a place or scene of disorder or destruction <After the party, the house was a shambles.> Hint: Shambles can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking.





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shambles? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by propriety and good taste

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

oily angry maudlin prompt
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ