Is your house in terrible condition? Does the roof leak? Is it half tumbling down? Congratulations! It's ramshackle — in other words, in terrible condition and barely holding together.

If you think there's a similarity between a place that's been ransacked and a place that's ramshackle, you'd be right. Ramshackle comes from ransackle, an old 19th century term for "ransack." Although ramshackle is usually intended as a negative term, that's not always the case. Sometimes it can imply a certain cute picturesque quality. Buildings, places, and even some objects such as cars can be considered ramshackle.

Definitions of ramshackle

adj in deplorable condition

“a ramshackle old pier”
bedraggled, broken-down, derelict, dilapidated, tatterdemalion, tumble-down
harmed or injured or spoiled

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