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From Middle English schambyll, shamyll, schamel, from Old English sċeamol, scamol (bench, stool), from Proto-West Germanic *skamul, *skamil, from Proto-Germanic *skamulaz, *skamilaz, from Latin scamellum, a variant of scabellum (footstool). Cognate with Dutch schemel (footstool, bench), German Schemel (stool), Danish skammel (stool). Icelandic skemill (footstool).


  • IPA(key): /ˈʃæmbl̩/
  • (file)


shamble (third-person singular simple present shambles, present participle shambling, simple past and past participle shambled)

  1. To walk while shuffling or dragging the feet.
    I wasn't too impressed with the fellow, when he shambled in unenthusiastically and an hour late.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 64, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 328:
      The old black, not in any very high glee at having been previously roused from his warm hammock at a most unseasonable hour, came shambling along from his galley, for, like many old blacks, there was something the matter with his knee-pans, which he did not keep well scoured like his other pans; [...]




shamble (plural shambles)

  1. (mining) One of a succession of niches or platforms, one above another, to hold ore which is thrown successively from platform to platform, and thus raised to a higher level.

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