shambles
noun plural but singular or plural in construction Etymology: 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 Date: 15th century 1. archaic a meat market 2. slaughterhouse 3. a. 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

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • shambles — [sham′bəlz] n. 〚ME schamel, bench, as for displaying meat for sale < OE scamol, bench or stool, akin to Ger schemel < early WGmc borrowing < L scamellum, dim. < scamnum, bench < IE base * skabh , * skambh , to prop up > Sans skámbhana , a… …   Universalium

  • shambles — The word now most commonly used to mean ‘a mess or muddle’ has a colourful history. It started life in Old English in the singular form shamble meaning ‘a stool or footstool’, came to refer to a table or stall for the sale of meat, and was then… …   Modern English usage

  • shambles — [sham′bəlz] n. [ME schamel, bench, as for displaying meat for sale < OE scamol, bench or stool, akin to Ger schemel < early WGmc borrowing < L scamellum, dim. < scamnum, bench < IE base * skabh , * skambh , to prop up > Sans… …   English World dictionary

  • shambles — I noun cataclysm, chaos, confusion, destruction, disorder, disorganization, disruption, havoc, holocaust, jumble, laniena, madhouse, maelstrom, mayhem, mess, pandemonium, scene of destruction, scene of disorder, state of violence, turmoil,… …   Law dictionary

  • shambles — (n.) late 15c., meat or fish market, from schamil table, stall for vending (c.1300), from O.E. scomul, sceamel stool, footstool, table for vending, an early West Germanic borrowing (Cf. O.S. skamel, M.Du. schamel, O.H.G. scamel, Ger. schemel)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shambles — [n] a mess anarchy, babel, bedlam, botch, chaos, confusion, disarray, disorder, disorganization, hash, havoc, hodge podge, madhouse, maelstrom, mess up, mix up, muddle; concepts 230,674 Ant. order, organization …   New thesaurus

  • shambles — ► NOUN 1) informal a state of complete disorder. 2) archaic a butcher s slaughterhouse. ORIGIN originally in the sense «meat market»: plural of earlier shamble «stool, stall», from Latin scamellum little bench …   English terms dictionary

  • shambles — n. 1) to make a shambles of; to turn smt. into a shambles 2) in (a) shambles (their economy is in shambles) * * * [ ʃæmb(ə)lz] to turn smt. into a shambles to make a shambles of in (a) shambles (their economy is in shambles) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • shambles — sham|bles [ˈʃæmbəlz] n [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: shambles place where animals are killed for meat, scene of great killing or destruction (16 20 centuries), from shamble table from which meat is sold, meat market (14 19 centuries), from Old… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • shambles — noun informal a shambles a) an event or situation that is a complete failure because it has not been organized or planned properly: be (in) a shambles: By 1985 the economy was in a shambles. | make a shambles of sth: Potts, you made a complete… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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