Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

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 English scamul 'counter, stool'

shambles

noun
     
sham‧bles

be (in) a shambles

informal
a) if something is a shambles, it is very disorganized and there is a lot of confusion:
The meeting was a shambles from start to finish.
The economy is in a complete shambles.
b) if a place is a shambles, it is very untidy [= mess]:
My house is in an absolute shambles.

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