shab·​by | \ ˈsha-bē How to pronounce shabby (audio) \
shabbier; shabbiest

Definition of shabby

1 : clothed with worn or seedy garments a shabby hobo
2a : threadbare and faded from wear a shabby sofa
b : ill-kept : dilapidated a shabby neighborhood
3a : mean, despicable, contemptible must feel shabby … because of his compromises— Nat Hentoff
b : ungenerous, unfair laments the shabby way in which this country often treated a poet— Paul Engle
c : inferior in quality shabby reasoning

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Other Words from shabby

shabbily \ ˈsha-​bə-​lē How to pronounce shabbily (audio) \ adverb
shabbiness \ ˈsha-​bē-​nəs How to pronounce shabbiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of shabby in a Sentence

The furniture was old and shabby. He wore a shabby coat. Her first apartment was pretty shabby. They complained about the shabby treatment they received at the hotel. Backing out of the deal was a shabby thing to do.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Run by California promoters, the shabby show was found to violate a state law against endurance contests that lasted more than 24 hours. Paula Allen,, "Olmos Park Terrace club’s visions of grandeur dashed by Depression, fire," 22 June 2019 Finding shabby abodes like these and making them respectable is the load-bearing wall of Amherst’s strategy. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Meet the A.I. Landlord That’s Building a Single-Family-Home Empire," 21 June 2019 Presented by Blume and Fleurish, Charm appeals to shoppers of all ages and styles, offering a plethora of merchandise, including handmade and vintage items, jewelry, repurposed home décor, shabby chic furniture and much more. Candice Terrell, Fierce Marketing,, "Charm at the Farm is back for 2019," 19 June 2019 The weather is not too shabby thanks to a constant marine layer. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "Is dramatic comeback in Tiger Woods’ weekend plans at U.S. Open?," 14 June 2019 Everything has a certain lived-in quality, so the neutrals feel inviting, not stark, and there's nothing shabby about it. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Garance Doré’s House is About to Be the Hottest Thing on Instagram," 13 Mar. 2019 And my heart was not yet indifferent to the shabby jargon of hope. Lynn Freed, Harper's magazine, "We Were So Happy Then," 10 Mar. 2019 Schools and hospitals are shabby and life expectancy is low. The Economist, "How China’s government should help its backward regions," 7 June 2019 By all means, call out online distortions and lies, but deliberately exposing low-level political advocates to personal destruction is shabby and irresponsible, and more an act of political retaliation than journalism. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Daily Beast’s Shabby Scoop," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shabby.' 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 shabby

1669, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shabby

obsolete English shab a low fellow

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Statistics for shabby

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for shabby

The first known use of shabby was in 1669

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More Definitions for shabby



English Language Learners Definition of shabby

: in poor condition especially because of age or use
: dressed in clothes that are old and worn
informal : not fair, generous, or reasonable


shab·​by | \ ˈsha-bē How to pronounce shabby (audio) \
shabbier; shabbiest

Kids Definition of shabby

1 : faded and worn from use or wear shabby clothes
2 : in poor condition : dilapidated a shabby house
3 : dressed in worn clothes
4 : not fair or generous We received shabby treatment.

Other Words from shabby

shabbily \ ˈsha-​bə-​lē \ adverb shabbily dressed

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More from Merriam-Webster on shabby

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shabby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shabby

Spanish Central: Translation of shabby

Nglish: Translation of shabby for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shabby for Arabic Speakers

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