sham·​bles | \ ˈsham-bəlz How to pronounce shambles (audio) \

Definition of shambles

1 archaic : a meat market
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

Examples of shambles in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Democrats counter that the Trump administration left processes for humanely processing migrants in shambles. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Border crisis is becoming Biden's Achilles' heel," 13 Apr. 2021 The restaurant industry in Philadelphia was in shambles. Adam Erace, Fortune, "How to move and reassemble a team during a pandemic," 3 Apr. 2021 But Syria is in shambles; the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, the economy on the ropes with the currency losing much of its value. Greg Palkot, Fox News, "Syria is 'one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes,' says human rights lawyer," 16 Mar. 2021 Suffice to say, Grey Sloan is in shambles right now, and its staff isn't doing too well either. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Grey’s Anatomy Is Finally Back — Here’s What You Need To Remember," 12 Mar. 2021 Back at the house, Nany’s in shambles because her best friend is gone. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, "The Challenge: Double Agents Recap: Big Trust Issues," 4 Mar. 2021 The run defense is in shambles as evident by the 208 rushing yards allowed to Washington. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "It’s easy to blame coaches for the Cowboys' struggles, but the reality is their personnel just hasn’t been good enough," 25 Oct. 2020 His loud, booming voice could be heard across an arena, and his near-perfect designer clothes were in shambles after most games. Dan Gelston, ajc, "John Chaney, commanding Temple basketball coach, dies at 89," 29 Jan. 2021 His loud, booming voice could be heard across an arena, and his near-perfect designer clothes were in shambles after most games. Dan Gelston, Star Tribune, "John Chaney, commanding Temple basketball coach, dies at 89," 29 Jan. 2021

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

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First Known Use of shambles

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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The first known use of shambles was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shambles.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shambles. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for shambles

shambles

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shambles

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

shambles

noun plural
sham·​bles | \ ˈsham-bəlz How to pronounce shambles (audio) \

Kids Definition of shambles

: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shambles

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shambles

Nglish: Translation of shambles for Spanish Speakers

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