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ramshackle

[ram-shak-uh l] /ˈræmˌʃæk əl/
adjective
1.
loosely made or held together; rickety; shaky:
a ramshackle house.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; compare earlier rans(h)ackled, obscurely akin to ransack
Related forms
ramshackleness, noun
Synonyms
tumbledown, dilapidated, derelict, flimsy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ram-shackle

ramshackle

/ˈræmˌʃækəl/
adjective
1.
(esp of buildings) badly constructed or maintained; rickety, shaky, or derelict
Word Origin
C17 ramshackled, from obsolete ransackle to ransack
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ram-shackle

ramshackle

adj.

1809, back-formation from ramshackled, earlier ranshackled (1670s), alteration of ransackled, past participle of ransackle (see ransack). The word seems to have been Scottish.

Reading over this note to an American gentleman, he seemed to take alarm, lest the word ramshackle should be palmed on his country. I take it home willingly, as a Scotticism, and one well applied, as may be afterwards shown. [Robert Gourlay, "General Introduction to a Statistical Account of Upper Canada," London, 1822]
Jamieson's "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language" (1825) has it as a noun meaning "thoughtless, ignorant fellow."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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5
6
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