In more general use, a scene of disorder or devastation; a ruin; a mess. orig. U.S.
1926 P. H. DE KRUIF Microbe Hunters III. iv. 83 Once more his laboratory became a shambles
of cluttered flasks and hurrying assistants. 1942 E. WAUGH Put out More Flags ii. 150 Alastair learned, too, that all schemes ended in a ‘shambles’
which did not mean, as he feared, a slaughter, but a brief restoration of individual freedom of movement. 1966 M. R. D. FOOT SOE in France viii. 184 Helped the commandos to make a thorough shambles
of the main dockyard. 1979 Daily Tel. 5 Sept. 6/6 Haiti remains a dictatorship, its economy in a shambles
sham·bles pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
1. 1. A scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin: "The economy was in a shambles
" (W. Bruce Lincoln).
2. Great clutter or jumble; a total mess: made dinner and left the kitchen a shambles
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
Common errors in English usage
Your clothes are in tatters, your plans are in ruins, but you can console yourself that your room cannot be “in shambles.”
The expression meaning “like a wreck” is “a shambles”: “Your room is a shambles! It looks like a cyclone hit it.”
A shambles used to be the counter in a meat stall and later, a bloody butchery floor. Settings like the throne room at the end of Hamlet or a disastrous battlefield strewn with body parts can be called “a shambles” in the traditional sense. Now the phrase usually means just “a mess.”
from guardian.co.uk: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client=fire...
- £4.5m rescue plan for state-school Latin ends in shambles
- Sharif's party in shambles
- International talks on the future of whaling ended in shambles last night, with no deal between pro- and anti-whaling nations, ...
63 from guardian.co.uk for "is in shambles" economy
7 from guardian.co.uk for "is in a shambles" economy
756 from guardian.co.uk for "is a shambles" economy
NY Times: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client=fire...
- Kenya's Tourism Industry in Shambles
- A Legal System in Shambles
6,310 from nytimes.com for "is in shambles" economy
979 from nytimes.com for "is in a shambles" economy
2,440 from nytimes.com for "is a shambles" economy
in shambles --- durcheinander
shambles [coll.] --- das Chaos
shambles --- das Durcheinander
shambles --- die Schlachtbank
shambles --- heilloses Durcheinander