What another word for a place being in ruins (figuratively). Like a place hit with a tornado and is now in ____?

  • 2
    If a place has been hit with a tornado, it's probably literally in ruins, rather than figuratively.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 11, 2014 at 0:45
  • 1
    Do you want to retain the preposition "in"? That's what I understood. Though, "in ruins" is an idiomatic usage as well.
    – ermanen
    Jun 11, 2014 at 2:38

7 Answers 7


A shambles.

From the OED:

5b. pl. … a scene of disorder or devastation; a ruin; a mess. orig. U.S.

1926 P. H. de Kruif Microbe Hunters iii. iv. 83 Once more his laboratory became a shambles of cluttered flasks and hurrying assistants.

1966 M. R. D. Foot SOE in France viii. 184 Helped the commandos to make a thorough shambles of the main dockyard.

This derives from another sense of shambles, meaning a slaughterhouse or a similarly bloody scene.


The place is devastated. It has been ravaged.

If, instead of a tornado hitting it, it is falling apart due to age and neglect it could be dilapidated.


The place is now reduced to rubble.

The place is now in tatters.
The place has been left in tatters.

The place is now in a state of complete disarray.

  • 1
    In the words of Mick Jagger, Sh-sh-shattered. Shadoobie. Jun 11, 2014 at 17:03

torn asunder


I use the word shambles - a state of total disorder.

other near words are falling to pieces, wrecked, ramshackles...


This place is now torn to shreds.

This place is now ripped to pieces.

This place is now an urban wasteland.



Having fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration, as through neglect; broken-down and shabby.



A gradual deterioration to an inferior state: urban decay.

Fallen into ruin.

  • 1
    Decay and dilapidation take time. They're not something I would consider the result of a tornado. I think @BenKovit has the best answer here.
    – JLG
    Jun 11, 2014 at 16:38

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