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[shab-ee-jen-teel] /ˈʃæb i dʒɛnˈtil/
trying to maintain dignity and self-respect despite shabbiness.
Origin of shabby-genteel
First recorded in 1745-55
Related forms
[shab-ee-jen-til-i-tee] /ˈʃæb i dʒɛnˈtɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shabby-genteel
Historical Examples
  • I do not believe the poor put into them, but the reduced rich, the shabby-genteel.

    Winterslow William Hazlitt
  • At eleven o'clock he was clothed as a beggar—at twelve he was shabby-genteel.

  • Look again—here is a shabby-genteel man who lives by his wits.

    London's Underworld Thomas Holmes
  • Such objects, with few exceptions, are shabby-genteel people.

    Sketches by Boz Charles Dickens
  • Here the last of the Glenalvans—once a proud and wealthy race—dwelt in respectable, shabby-genteel poverty.

    Little Golden's Daughter

    Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller
  • French peasants will not set about the day's labour in smart or shabby-genteel clothes.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • While he sat there spell-bound, a shabby-genteel man entered and sat down beside him.

  • And now to relinquish these, and be the actor, in the garish light of the noonday, and a shabby-genteel coat and hat!

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • The room was full of debtors of all appearances—from the shabby-genteel down to the absolutely ragged.

    The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds
  • It would be difficult to name any particular part of town as the principal resort of shabby-genteel men.

    Sketches by Boz Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for shabby-genteel


preserving or aspiring to the forms and manners of gentility despite appearing shabby
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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