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 shabby (audio) \ adverb
shabbiness \ ˈsha-​bē-​nəs How to pronounce shabby (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.
Recent Examples on the Web Those three guys coming off the bench aren’t too shabby, either. Mark Heim |, al, 24 Apr. 2022 Leaving Tokyo with 2 more Olympic medals to add to my collection isn't too shabby! Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Apr. 2022 While Embiid was the star of the game, teammate Harden wasn't too shabby either. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 9 Apr. 2022 This plant sale features perennials dug and potted by club members, as well as yard art and a shabby chic boutique. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 Mar. 2022 The Broken Arms apartment tree is shabby and crowded. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 25 Mar. 2022 McGee, of course, saved a career-high 31 games last year, not shabby, and had a 1.93 ERA over his final 48 games. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Mar. 2022 The ridiculous incompetence of the reasons, the bloody and shabby Pathos of the result. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 18 Mar. 2022 Now the developer is back and proposing a sequel project across from the original that would be more than four times the size — 54 housing units — and require tearing down two old and shabby houses that would be in the way of construction. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

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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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shabby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for shabby


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

More from Merriam-Webster on shabby

Nglish: Translation of shabby for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shabby for Arabic Speakers


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