Definition of ramshackle
1 : appearing ready to collapse : rickety
2 : carelessly or loosely constructed a ramshackle plot
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Examples of ramshackle in a Sentence
The movie's ramshackle plot is confusing and not believable.
Recent Examples of ramshackle from the Web
The time was January of 1991, the place the ramshackle debate chamber of the Oxford Union Society.
Like a steady, cool evening breeze, electro-acoustic folk artist J.E. Sunde sails along the ramshackle songwriting tailwinds of a Van Morrison while finding the more avant garde, free-wheeling side of a Mason Jennings.
The director pays close attention to the details of this ramshackle house, which begins as an emotional lodestone for C and eventually becomes something approaching a prison.
For most of our history, American political parties were ramshackle coalitions of diverse and even contradictory viewpoints.
Recently renovated, the apartment is also far more expensive — $1,450 a month — than their earlier, more ramshackle places.
In order to revamp the personnel, Rogers expects Bohannon to begin recruiting immediately and said the timing of his hire was inspired, in part, by a motivation to refurbish a ramshackle roster.
The complaints were not quite the supernova that followed the dissolution of the Fyre Festival, when planeloads of millennials arrived to find a ramshackle site that was far from the luxurious beach paradise they had been sold.
In this sleepy fishing village, there are ramshackle stands on most street corners.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ramshackle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Evolution of ramshackle
Ramshackle has nothing to do with rams, nor the act of being rammed, nor shackles. The word is an alteration of ransackled, an obsolete form of the verb ransack, meaning "to search through or plunder." (Ransack in turn derives, via Middle English, from Old Norse words meaning "house" and "seek.") A home that has been ransacked has had its contents thrown into disarray, and that image may be what caused us to start using ramshackle in the first half of the 19th century to describe something that is poorly constructed or in a state of near collapse. These days, ramshackle can also be used figuratively, as in "He could only devise a ramshackle excuse for his absence."
Origin and Etymology of ramshackle
alteration of earlier ransackled, from past participle of obsolete ransackle, frequentative of ransack
First Known Use: 1830See Words from the same year
RAMSHACKLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ramshackle for English Language Learners
: in a very bad condition and needing to be repaired
: not carefully made or put together
RAMSHACKLE Defined for Kids
Definition of ramshackle for Students
: ready to fall down a ramshackle barn
Seen and Heard
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