Your clothes are in tatters, your plans are in ruins, but you can console yourself that your room cannot be “in shambles.”

The expression meaning “like a wreck” is “a shambles”: “Your room is a shambles! It looks like a cyclone hit it.”

A shambles used to be the counter in a meat stall and later, a bloody butchery floor. Settings like the throne room at the end of Hamlet or a disastrous battlefield strewn with body parts can be called “a shambles” in the traditional sense. Now the phrase usually means just “a mess.”

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