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drab1

[drab]
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adjective, drab·ber, drab·best.
  1. dull; cheerless; lacking in spirit, brightness, etc.
  2. having the color drab.
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noun
  1. dull gray; dull brownish or yellowish gray.
  2. any of several fabrics of this color, especially of thick wool or cotton.
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Origin of drab1

1535–45; < Middle French drap < Late Latin drappus piece of cloth
Related formsdrab·ly, adverbdrab·ness, noun

drab2

[drab]
noun
  1. a dirty, untidy woman; slattern.
  2. a prostitute.
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verb (used without object), drabbed, drab·bing.
  1. to associate with drabs.
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Origin of drab2

1505–15; perhaps akin to Dutch drab dregs, lees, obsolete Dutch drablen to run or tramp about; cf. drabble, draff
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for drab

drab1

adjective drabber or drabbest
  1. dull; dingy; shabby
  2. cheerless; drearya drab evening
  3. of the colour drab
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noun
  1. a light olive-brown colour
  2. a fabric of a dull grey or brown colour
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Derived Formsdrably, adverbdrabness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Old French drap cloth, from Late Latin drappus, perhaps of Celtic origin

drab2

noun
  1. a slatternly woman
  2. a whore
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verb drabs, drabbing or drabbed
  1. (intr) to consort with prostitutes
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Word Origin

C16: of Celtic origin; compare Scottish Gaelic drabag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for drab

n.

1680s, "color of natural, undyed cloth," from Middle French drap (see drape (n.)). Figurative sense is c.1880. Apparently not related to earlier word meaning "a dirty, untidy woman" (1510s), "a prostitute" (1520s), which seems to be connected with Irish drabog, Gaelic drabag "dirty woman," and perhaps with Low German drabbe "dirt." Ultimately perhaps from PIE *dher- "to make muddy." Meaning "small, petty debt" (the sense in dribs and drabs) is 1828, of uncertain connection to the other senses.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with drab

drab

see dribs and drabs.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.