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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
1. A state of great disorder.
2. A scene of carnage.
3. A slaughterhouse.
ETYMOLOGY:From oak to acorn, from a little piece of furniture to a slaughterhouse. The word known today as shambles started out as scamnum (stool, bench). Over time the word's sense evolved to "a vendor's table", more specifically, a butcher's table. Eventually, the word came to be applied to a meat market or a slaughterhouse. From the state of disarray of such a place, today we use the word metaphorically to denote a place of complete disorder. That's the story of a slaughterhouse. To know what became of a fish market, see billingsgate.
USAGE:"The program aims to rebuild a system in shambles before nearly 4,000 schools were destroyed."
$2 Billion Sought to Overhaul Ruined Haiti Schools; Associated Press; May 15, 2010.
See more usage examples of shambles in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. -Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (1809-1882)
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