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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Those numbers aren’t too shabby for a personal eVTOL, to say nothing of a DIY model. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 8 Oct. 2021 Having Ken Wright of Ken Wright Cellars in Carlton make your Tiger Vines Vineyard wines isn’t too shabby, either. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 3 Sep. 2021 Not that journalism hasn’t always been a matter of profit and loss, but the Times makes its concern so shabby and obvious. Earl Shorris, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 June and July both saw the U.S. economy create more than 900,000 jobs, and May wasn’t too shabby either at above 600,000. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 Anybody who was paying attention knew the trial Republicans put on was a sham, a shabby bit of political theater, the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion. Mary L. Trump, The New Republic, 12 Aug. 2021 But Sandusky native Stephens imbues ‘Swan Song’ with a shabby charm all its own, coupled with emotional resonance born of both the story’s basis in the writer-director’s own experience and Kier’s touching performance. Mark Olsen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 Aug. 2021 But Rollins’s critics should likewise be held to account for their shabby methods and shabbier motives., 5 Aug. 2021 Colleagues would ridicule those wearing outfits considered too flashy or too shabby for the wearer’s place in the corporate food chain. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2021

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

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shabby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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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 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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