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

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 Forbes estimates Kim is worth a not-too-shabby $350 million. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Here’s How Much Every Member of the Kardashian-Jenner Family Is Worth," 11 July 2018 He had been born poor himself, in a camp outside the shabby ranching-and-mining town of La Libertad in Chontales province, the illegitimate son of a prospector and an Indian peasant woman. The Economist, "Obituary: Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, the first cardinal from Central America," 23 June 2018 As the captain of the national team, Mike had just won the 2003 World Cup in Australia — not too shabby. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Zara Tindall Is One of the Most Impressive Royals Ever," 22 June 2018 Nick is shot and put into the car, leaving June abandoned shabby mansion in the middle of the woods., "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2, Episode 10 Recap: This One Hits Too Close To Home, You Guys," 20 June 2018 Ovechkin had nine shots by himself–and by concocting a suicidal combination of silly penalties and shabby penalty-killing. Charles P. Pierce,, "Even After a Loss, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals Remain Calm," 16 May 2018 The private waterfront property with meadows, cypress and eucalyptus groves, white sand bay beaches, and stylishly restored, shabby-chic cabanas, was once owned by the Grateful Dead’s physician. Richard Stenger,, "Everything you need to know about the oyster capital of California," 3 July 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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Phrases Related to shabby

not (too) shabby

Statistics for shabby

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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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

: 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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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).


not any or not one

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