grub·​by ˈgrə-bē How to pronounce grubby (audio)
grubbier; grubbiest
: infested with fly maggots
: dirty, grimy
grubby hands
: worthy of contempt : base
grubby political motives
grubbily adverb
grubbiness 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 Off to one side of the main room stands a rectangular platform hosting a grubby mattress enshrouded by a set of semi-opaque curtains hanging around the sides and sealing it off but for access slits. Matt Thompson, SPIN, 8 Nov. 2023 In 1881 astronomer Simon Newcomb noticed that early pages of logarithm tables, which correspond to numbers beginning with 1, were grubby and worn compared with the later pages. Jack Murtagh, Scientific American, 8 May 2023 Manson starts the ‘60s as a grubby little inmate whose rap sheet—prison buggery aside—is a bunch of crap. Matt Thompson, Spin, 10 Sep. 2023 Parasite, Triangle of Sadness and The Menu are just a few recent films that have shifted the power dynamics away from the super wealthy and into the hands of those grubby lower classes, with sometimes deadly results. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Sep. 2023 Ever get the urge to scurry around cities and fight the patriarchy with your grubby little hands? Haley Strack, National Review, 11 Aug. 2023 At this early point in the series, Demons & Saviors is already a sad story of an abused, mentally unstable teen turned into a sideshow freak by grubby opportunists. Chris Vognar, Rolling Stone, 3 Aug. 2023 Editor’s picks Compared to Anita, the Stones were grubby adolescents, awkward and hopelessly naive. Elizabeth Winder, Rolling Stone, 24 July 2023 The grubby lanes of Musallahpur, in the north Indian city of Patna, heave with the foot traffic, banners and vending carts familiar to commercial hubs across India. Hari Kumar Atul Loke, New York Times, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grubby.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1725, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of grubby was in 1725

Dictionary Entries Near grubby

Cite this Entry

“Grubby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


grub·​by ˈgrəb-ē How to pronounce grubby (audio)
grubbier; grubbiest
grubbily adverb
grubbiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on grubby

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