sham·​ble | \ ˈsham-bəl How to pronounce shamble (audio) \
shambled; shambling\ ˈsham-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce shambling (audio) \

Definition of shamble

intransitive verb

: to walk awkwardly with dragging feet : shuffle

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shamble

shamble noun

Examples of shamble in a Sentence

He shambled into the room. disconsolate and exhausted after losing the match, the wrestler shambled toward the locker room

Recent Examples on the Web

Dressed in pointedly unglamorous, androgynous togs,anxiety-prone Rue shambles through her days in search of calm and connection and, top priority of all, a high that can quiet her gyrating mind. Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, "With HBO’s Euphoria, Zendaya Puts Her Disney Past Behind Her Once and For All," 9 May 2019 Oil giant Saudi Aramco’s potential $2 trillion initial public offering is shambling slowly off the stage. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Saudi Aramco Could Still Sell a Stake—to China," 23 Aug. 2018 Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images For several months, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has quietly shambled along in a zombielike state. Dara Lind, Vox, "DACA is in a state of legal limbo. Now a Texas judge might rule to kill it.," 7 Aug. 2018 Fortunately, Pacino isn’t dialing things up in his big return to the screen—his detective Frank Keller is a charming, but shambling screw-up, a perfect noir hero in what amounts to a solid genre exercise. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Many Eras of Al Pacino's Stardom," 25 Mar. 2018 Once the zombification spreads, the mayhem runs through Charleston's streets, providing a quaint frame to the usual scenes of shambling monsters chowing down on anyone who can't run fast enough. Noel Murray,, "It may not be deep, but 'Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies' is bursting with regional flavor," 22 Mar. 2018 In the title story, adman Bill Whitman — note the surname — dishes a contemplative collage of ex-wives and ex-friends, a resigned and almost free-associative appraisal of his shambled past. William Giraldi, The Seattle Times, "Denis Johnson’s posthumous story collection is a thrilling gift from the grave," 4 Feb. 2018 His diffidence blends well with his shambling characterization and Ford’s unhurried tempo. J. Hoberman, New York Times, "Mr. Lincoln Goes to Hollywood (and Looks Like Henry Fonda)," 26 Jan. 2018 One approach is to adopt the mind of a tracker examining the scat of a shaggy, shambling woodland beast. Eliot A. Cohen, The Atlantic, "Three Ways to Read Trump's National Security Strategy," 18 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shamble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of shamble

1717, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shamble

shamble bowed, malformed

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shamble

Statistics for shamble

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shamble

The first known use of shamble was in 1717

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shamble



English Language Learners Definition of shamble

: to walk in an awkward, unsteady way without lifting your feet very high off the ground


sham·​ble | \ ˈsham-bəl How to pronounce shamble (audio) \
shambled; shambling

Kids Definition of shamble

: to walk in an awkward unsteady way

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shamble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shamble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shamble

Spanish Central: Translation of shamble

Nglish: Translation of shamble for Spanish Speakers

Comments on shamble

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!