grub·​by | \ ˈgrə-bē How to pronounce grubby (audio) \
grubbier; grubbiest

Definition of grubby

1 : infested with fly maggots
2a : dirty, grimy grubby hands
3 : worthy of contempt : base grubby political motives

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Other Words from grubby

grubbily \ ˈgrə-​bə-​lē How to pronounce grubby (audio) \ adverb
grubbiness \ ˈgrə-​bē-​nəs How to pronounce grubby (audio) \ noun

Examples of grubby in a Sentence

He lives in a grubby little apartment. clean off those grubby hands before you touch anything
Recent Examples on the Web Back to politics as grubby deals and squalid compromise. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Anti-Trump Hangover Is Here," 10 Nov. 2020 Stakeholder capitalism is a grubby big idea, one that is bad for shareholders, and not so much better for democracy, unsurprising given its deep roots in corporatism. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of October 26," 30 Oct. 2020 The iPhone 11’s powerful 12-megapixel camera can also find its way into the grubby hands of a kid who wants to film a TikTok dance. Rachel Wolfe, WSJ, "7 Ways to Use Your Old iPhone—After You’ve Bought the iPhone 12," 23 Oct. 2020 The tender message is accompanied with a photo of the couple’s grubby feet, framed by waves rolling in on the beach. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Eddie Van Halen’s Widow Shares Touching Message," 8 Oct. 2020 Imagine if Helen had, instead of being raped (or seduced, depending on your interpretation), told Paris to get his grubby hands off her, or, better yet, punched him in the face. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The Sex That Ruins Everything," 1 Oct. 2020 Once again, the CDC discourages handing candy to kids who trick-or-treat door-to-door, but there are other safe ways to get the goods into those grubby little hands. René A. Guzman,, "Ideas for how San Antonio families, kids are doing Halloween differently, safely in 2020 because of coronavirus," 1 Oct. 2020 The third trend was a growing obsession with celebrity among Democrats, as if celebrity itself could somehow transcend the grubby business of politics. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Failure of Democratic Politics," 19 Sep. 2020 Admittedly, those hands are sticky and grubby, but it’s the thought that counts. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "A grandfather ponders the best books to keep children — and their adults — entertained," 26 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grubby.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grubby

1725, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for grubby

Time Traveler

The first known use of grubby was in 1725

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Statistics for grubby

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grubby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for grubby


How to pronounce grubby (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grubby

informal : dirty or messy


grub·​by | \ ˈgrə-bē How to pronounce grubby (audio) \
grubbier; grubbiest

Kids Definition of grubby

More from Merriam-Webster on grubby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grubby

Nglish: Translation of grubby for Spanish Speakers

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