• Chaotic, disorganized, or mismanaged.

Get a new word in your inbox every day.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Example Sentences

“The play was a disaster and closed after a single shambolic performance.”

“I had to close the door on the shambolic mess in my closet and promise to deal with it later.”

“Many chefs give the advice to ‘clean as you go’ to avoid a shambolic kitchen.”

Word Origin

British English, 1970s

Why this word?

“Shambolic” is based on the word “shambles,” meaning “great disorder,” with the suffix “-olic” possibly borrowed from “symbolic.” The term “shambolic” has been in use since the early 1950s, though in the 1980s, William Safire noted in his “New York Times” column “On Language” that it was a slang term popular among “our British cousins.” The first citation of the term in the Oxford English Dictionary dates to an issue of “The Times of London” in 1970, but the term took off among English speakers worldwide in the 2010s.

  • More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    Subscribe to Better Report to receive tips and tricks that will save you money, maximize your time, and improve your life.

    Subscribe to Better Report
    By clicking “Subscribe” you’re agreeing to Better Report Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Learn a new word Zymurgy