22 Nov 2015


Adding new words to my vocabulary is always fun. But it's even more so to discover something interesting about a frequently used word . Here's what is behind the word - Shambles.

According to a BBC article (Business Tips from UKs oldest family firms - dated 15th Jan 2014), the word is old English for "an open-air meat market where animals were slaughtered and blood would drip into the gutter on the street". It takes little imagination to figure out why this word became associated with chaos/ disorder.

Here's how the dictionary defines it today

For fellow etymology enthusiasts (that's those of us who like to understand the history and evolution of a word through history) shambles is derived from old English Scamul, shorthand for Latin Scamnum  - meaning a stool or bench. It's easy to see why it was the old English term for Butchers shop (which usually was a bench with meat on it).

According to Wikipedia there are several streets in the UK named "The shambles" – probably because at some point in time they were butcher markets.

And according to Google, the word is pretty much well-used since records began - but you already knew that right :)

Do you have any such interesting words that you recently learnt? Or have spotted an issue with anything in this post? Please leave a comment below.

1 comment:

Trees Planet said...

Very interesting post. And thank for nice information.