1:appearing ready to collapse: rickety 2:carelessly or loosely constructed
The properties were separated by a ramshackle wooden fence that was just barely held together with chicken wire.
Did You Know?
Despite its appearance, "ramshackle" has nothing to do with rams or shackles. It's an alteration of "ramshackled," an early form of "ransack," which derived from Old Norse words meaning "house" and "seek" and meant "to search through or plunder." A home that has been ransacked has had its contents thrown into disarray, and that image may be what caused us to start using "ramshackle" in the first half of the 19th century to describe something poorly constructed or in a state of near collapse. These days, "ramshackle" can also be used figuratively, as in "He could only devise a ramshackle excuse for his absence."