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

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 Divará Divará is a pretty, shabby chic restaurant with a turquoise and white color scheme, murals on the walls, and rustic furniture. Susannah Rigg, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Mexico City," 13 Mar. 2018 But that isn't too shabby in a state that Hilary Clinton beat Donald Trump in 2016 by eight points. Fox News, "Gary Johnson: I could have power as the Senate swing vote," 17 Aug. 2018 Apollo Banana Leaf Apollo Banana Leaf is a beloved institution in this part of south London, partly because of its shabby-chic decor and so-uncool-it’s-cool vibe, and partly because of its mouthwatering food. Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Indian Restaurants in London," 27 Feb. 2018 While the shabby chic look was more feminine than modern farmhouse, the two share several traits, including distressed woods, a whitewashed palette, and vintage everything. Laura Fenton, Curbed, "How the ‘modern farmhouse’ look took over," 21 Nov. 2018 Their husbands aren’t too shabby in this category, either; Prince Harry ups a product’s desirability by 31.9 percent and Prince William does the same by 27 percent. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Is Even More Influential Than Meghan Markle in the U.S.," 1 Nov. 2018 Habitas Tulum, beTulum, Sanara and others, with ultra chic DJs and a relaxed vibe, are still setting the bar for barefoot luxury, shabby chic, and rustic luxe. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places Our Travel Specialists Say You Should Go in 2019," 17 Dec. 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

12 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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behavior toward others

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