shab·​by | \ˈsha-bē \
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 \ adverb
shabbiness \ˈsha-​bē-​nəs \ 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

Still—not too shabby for an affordable product, right? Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Dyed Her Hair Pink with This $16 Tint," 21 Sep. 2018 Additionally, the wedding's engagement and buzz garnered Prada, who designed Ferragni's rehearsal dress, a value worth approximately $1.8 million—not too shabby. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chiara Ferragni's Wedding Dress Is More Influential than Meghan Markle's," 5 Sep. 2018 The port was shabby, everyone was terribly thin, and children wore rags. Yuri Kageyama, Fox News, "North Korean defectors sue in Japan, alleging rights abuses," 24 Aug. 2018 This was a convenient reminder that the quarterback taking snaps with the first team instead of him, Hurts, wasn’t too shabby and had taken Alabama to the national championship in two consecutive seasons. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Quarterback Making Alabama Scarier Than Ever," 9 Oct. 2018 That's not too shabby, especially since spending more than four straight hours in VR can get pretty uncomfortable anyway. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Vive’s wireless adapter gives the best VR experience lots of money can buy," 26 Sep. 2018 Lost in all the parliamentary sturm und drang was how completely shabby that CR really is. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "There Are Some Things You Can't Shut Down," 20 Jan. 2018 Internet access is patchy and slow; roads and classrooms can be surprisingly shabby; a tangle of red tape restricts service industries; and under Mrs Merkel the retirement age has fallen for some and will soon be lower than in France. The Economist, "Germany is becoming more open and diverse," 14 Apr. 2018 No one in this state should be alarmed by the state of our education system; it's been shabby for some time. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Is Michigan business leaders' small step toward education reform enough?," 25 Mar. 2018

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

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shabby

The first known use of shabby was in 1669

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English Language Learners Definition of shabby

: in poor condition especially because of age or use

: dressed in clothes that are old and worn

: not fair, generous, or reasonable


shab·​by | \ˈsha-bē \
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
shabbiness \ˈsha-​bē-​nəs \ noun

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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

Comments on shabby

What made you want to look up shabby? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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