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[skruhb-ee] /ˈskrʌb i/
adjective, scrubbier, scrubbiest.
low or stunted, as trees.
consisting of or covered with scrub, stunted trees, etc.
undersized or inferior, as animals.
wretched; shabby.
Origin of scrubby
First recorded in 1745-55; scrub2 + -y1
Related forms
scrubbily, adverb
scrubbiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scrubby
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Country very dense and scrubby; no feed in any of the thickets.

  • That scrubby menagerie had not gained in dignity from its transference to canvas walls.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • He gazed across the shimmering desert to a ridge of scrubby hills.

    The Quantum Jump Robert Wicks
  • When they do, they form small, scrubby trees that are of little value.

    Seasoning of Wood Joseph B. Wagner
  • The ground was very rocky, uneven, and full of holes and scrubby bushes.

    Hunting the Lions R.M. Ballantyne
  • His hand went unconsciously every other minute to his scrubby chin.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • The water is of a clear pale green; the banks are scrubby grass and mud.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • The country at the foot of the range was very stony, rough, and scrubby.

British Dictionary definitions for scrubby


adjective -bier, -biest
covered with or consisting of scrub
(of trees or vegetation) stunted in growth
(Brit, informal) messy
Derived Forms
scrubbiness, noun
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 scrubby

"stunted, inferior, shabby," 1590s; see scrub (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "covered with scrub" is from 1670s. Related: Scrubbiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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