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[flab-ee] /ˈflæb i/
adjective, flabbier, flabbiest.
hanging loosely or limply, as flesh or muscles; flaccid.
having such flesh.
lacking strength or determination.
Origin of flabby
late Middle English
1690-1700; apparently expressive alteration of earlier flappy, with same sense; see flap, -y1; compare late Middle English flabband (attested once), evidently with sense “flapping”
Related forms
flabbily, adverb
flabbiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for flabby
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A man of flabby muscles and gentle voice; seemingly unforceful, and with a personality likable, but hardly dominating.

    Tarrano the Conqueror Raymond King Cummings
  • It was a captured Confederate knapsack, flattened and flabby.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • The spring sculpin and the flabby, muddy flounder are the common rewards of the angler's toil.

  • This fluffy, flabby talk of love set her instincts in revolt.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • Some hands are naturally very soft and flabby, and of course it is more difficult to render them strong.

    Piano Mastery Harriette Brower
British Dictionary definitions for flabby


adjective -bier, -biest
lacking firmness; loose or yielding: flabby muscles
having flabby flesh, esp through being overweight
lacking vitality; weak; ineffectual
Derived Forms
flabbily, adverb
flabbiness, noun
Word Origin
C17: alteration of flappy, from flap + -y1; compare Dutch flabbe drooping lip
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
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Word Origin and History for flabby

1690s, variant of flappy, which is recorded in the sense of "softly fleshy" from 1590s; see flap. Related: Flabbily; flabbiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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