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 Not too shabby for a song born in the back of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart’s tour bus in late 2015. Bobby Olivier, Billboard, "Songs That Defined the Decade: The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey's 'Closer'," 21 Nov. 2019 The result is a field gashed from tire marks, with deep grooves running in curves that look like shabby crop circles from above. Kody Fisher,, "Local little league field vandalized by joyrider: ‘Be brave enough to admit it’," 31 Jan. 2020 The original Truck Yard on Lower Greenville in Dallas is a shabby-chic venue with bars and food trucks. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Truck Yard — a backyard bar with food — plans Fort Worth spot with live music," 27 Jan. 2020 My final regular-season picks record was a not-too-shabby 216-43. Ben Thomas |, al, "Coastal Playoff Picks, Notes: Which Mobile-area teams will advance out of Round 1?," 5 Nov. 2019 True, their visitor looks unhinged as well as shabby, but no rebuff, however threatening, no orders to stay away, will deter Calgary—a haunting portrayal by Mr. Treadaway. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Ordeal by Innocence’ Review: A Suspect in the Family," 9 Aug. 2018 The loss of Johnston required a more physical approach to the delight of the line but pass-blocking has not been too shabby in allowing only 19 sacks. Evan Dudley, al, "Position-by-position breakdown for 2019 New Orleans Bowl," 19 Dec. 2019 The food lineup ain’t too shabby either, including Mom’s, Pretty Cool Ice Cream, Kimski, Bumbu Roux and Dark Matter Coffee. Adam Lukach,, "Things to do in Chicago this weekend: Chicago Marathon spectating, Bacon and Beer Classic, big-screen horror classics and beer festivals," 11 Oct. 2019 The government’s shabby treatment of someone willing to pour billions into one of its poorest regions is unlikely to encourage other bids. The Economist, "Trouble in Tartano ArcelorMittal gets its fingers burned in Italy’s Ilva steel mill," 5 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for shabby

Time Traveler

The first known use of shabby was in 1669

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Statistics for shabby

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shabby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for shabby


How to pronounce shabby (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shabby

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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