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 grubbily (audio) \ adverb
grubbiness \ ˈgrə-​bē-​nəs How to pronounce grubbiness (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 The grubbiest garments are found elsewhere—among the world’s emerging markets. The Economist, "Next in line Which emerging markets are in most financial peril?," 2 May 2020 That’s particularly painful coming from inside the CDC, a longtime powerhouse in global public health now reduced to being a backdrop for grubby politics. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Trump’s Coronavirus Press Event Was Even Worse Than It Looked," 7 Mar. 2020 And, to be clear, disinfecting common spaces is not a replacement for thoroughly sudsing up your grubby mitts with soap. Katherine J. Wu, Popular Science, "Everything you need to know about cleaning public surfaces in a pandemic," 16 Mar. 2020 Having sought, achieved, or successfully survived the highest elected office in the United States, why would so many of these men bother with the grubby and tedious task of writing a book, or having one written on their behalf? Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Author in Chief’ finds the gold amid the dross of presidential memoirs," 7 Apr. 2020 The idea that the players themselves are grubby and selfish mostly comes from Donald and Methven. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Sunderland ‘Til I Die is TV’s Best Show about Failure," 1 Apr. 2020 The concluding sequence, grubby and majestic, rises to a height of luminous insight that’s also as benighted as all that came before. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: The 1978 Film That Inspired Robert Redford to Found Sundance," 1 Apr. 2020 On Tuesday, Welty asked laborers to change their clothes and shower after work, rather than sitting at the dinner table or on the couch in grubby gear. Michelle Jarboe, cleveland, "Construction in Ohio deemed “essential,” but coronavirus prompts rising worker absenteeism, anxiety," 26 Mar. 2020 Meeting the guy from Craigslist, hopping in his car for a test drive, handing him a pile of grubby cash, and shaking his hand to close the deal suddenly doesn't seem like such a good idea. Annie White, Car and Driver, "If You Can't Car-Shop in Person, Online Sources Offer Alternative," 20 Mar. 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

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grubby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on grubby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grubby

Spanish Central: Translation of grubby

Nglish: Translation of grubby for Spanish Speakers

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