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

Keep scrolling for more

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 To comprehend this is to comprehend the whole grubby initiative, which will confer benefits upon the Democrats irrespective of its success. The Editors, National Review, "Democrats’ Court-Packing Two-Step," 16 Apr. 2021 Elbegdorj is not immune from the grubby political fray. Time, "'We Face Very Tough Challenges.' How Mongolia Typifies the Problems Posed to Small Countries by China's Rise," 14 Apr. 2021 Headstrong and exasperating and grubby and irrepressible. Washington Post, "Beverly Cleary taught girls to make a brave demand: Love me for how I am," 27 Mar. 2021 In previous campaigns, beginning with his 1994 effort to unseat Ted Kennedy, Romney affected a certain disdain for politics and its grubby inducements. Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic, "Mitt Romney’s Party of One," 12 Feb. 2021 Della Terza said the library is constantly replacing books that get worn, and children’s books can get quite grubby, sticky and dirty. Suzanne Baker,, "Dr. Seuss books with racist imagery will stay on Naperville library shelves, executive director says," 6 Mar. 2021 The grubby world Ray inhabits looks like ours, but the details are slightly skewed. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Lapsis and the Rise of Gig-Economy Sci-Fi," 25 Feb. 2021 But the story has been more or less blessedly free of the former president’s grubby fingerprints. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The GameStop Saga Is the First Post-Trump Story," 1 Feb. 2021 This Screen Mom solution can clear away grime and grubby fingerprints from all kinds of flatscreens including LED, HDTV, 4K, Plasma, OLED, and more. Popular Science, "Screen cleaners that will let you see the bigger picture," 12 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of grubby

1725, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grubby

Statistics for grubby

Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Grubby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grubby



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

Comments on grubby

What made you want to look up grubby? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!