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How to pronounce ramshackle (audio)


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Dictionary definition of ramshackle

In a state of severe disrepair, decay, or deterioration, to the point where it appears unstable and unsafe.
"The village was made up of a collection of ramshackle huts."

Detailed meaning of ramshackle

A ramshackle structure often shows visible signs of neglect, with loose, crooked, or missing parts, sagging roofs, crumbling walls, and a generally dilapidated appearance. This term can also be applied to objects, vehicles, or systems that are similarly rundown and unreliable due to age or lack of maintenance. When something is described as "ramshackle," it implies that it is not only unsightly but also potentially hazardous, highlighting the need for repair, renovation, or replacement to ensure safety and functionality.

Example sentences containing ramshackle

1. The ramshackle house leaned to one side, showing signs of neglect.
2. The children built a ramshackle fort out of old wooden pallets and discarded boxes.
3. The abandoned factory stood as a ramshackle reminder of the town's industrial past.
4. They found shelter in a ramshackle cabin deep in the forest during the storm.
5. The ramshackle barn barely held together, its roof sagging under the weight of years.
6. The travelers sought refuge in a ramshackle roadside motel during their road trip.

History and etymology of ramshackle

The adjective 'ramshackle' has a somewhat uncertain etymology, but it is believed to have originated in Britain in the early 19th century. One theory suggests that it may be derived from the words 'ram,' meaning 'rampant' or 'wild,' and 'shackle,' meaning 'to bind' or 'restrain.' Another theory suggests it might be related to the word 'rattletrap,' which refers to a noisy and dilapidated vehicle. Regardless of its precise origin, 'ramshackle' is used to describe something in a state of severe disrepair, decay, or deterioration, to the point where it appears unstable and unsafe. This term effectively conveys the image of something that is falling apart, with its structural integrity compromised, and is often associated with old buildings, vehicles, or objects that have seen better days.

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Further usage examples of ramshackle

1. The old fishing boat was in a ramshackle state, its paint peeling and its engine rusty.
2. The neighborhood had a few ramshackle buildings that had seen better days.
3. The ramshackle bridge swayed precariously as we crossed it over the rushing river.
4. The group stumbled upon a ramshackle village hidden in the hills, untouched by modernity.
5. The ramshackle fence surrounded the overgrown garden, giving it a mysterious air.
6. The explorers found themselves in a ramshackle settlement on the outskirts of the desert.
7. The ramshackle caravan of traders carried their wares across the rugged terrain.
8. The ramshackle bookshop had stacks of dusty volumes teetering on unstable shelves.
9. The ramshackle amusement park had broken rides and faded signs of its former glory.
10. The ramshackle school building lacked proper heating and had leaky windows.
11. The ramshackle wagon was filled with fruits and vegetables, ready for market.
12. The ramshackle church was a place of worship for the small rural community.
13. The travelers rented a ramshackle cabin by the lake for a weekend getaway.
14. The ramshackle shelter offered temporary housing for the homeless during the cold winter months.



dilapidated, sturdy, sound, robust


GRE 13 (Graduate Record Examination), Building Components and Structures, Components and Elements, Turmoil and Treachery, Ravage and Ruin, Danger and Threat, Deterioration and Decline, Architectural Features and Spaces

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