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shoddy

[shod-ee]
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adjective, shod·di·er, shod·di·est.
  1. of poor quality or inferior workmanship: a shoddy bookcase.
  2. intentionally rude or inconsiderate; shabby: shoddy behavior.
noun, plural shod·dies.
  1. a fibrous material obtained by shredding unfelted rags or waste.Compare mungo.
  2. anything inferior, especially a handmade item or manufactured product.

Origin of shoddy

First recorded in 1825–35; origin uncertain
Related formsshod·di·ly, adverbshod·di·ness, nounhalf-shod·dy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for shoddy

shoddy

adjective -dier or -diest
  1. imitating something of better quality
  2. of poor quality; trashy
  3. made of shoddy material
noun plural -dies
  1. a yarn or fabric made from wool waste or clippings
  2. anything of inferior quality that is designed to simulate superior quality
Derived Formsshoddily, adverbshoddiness, noun

Word Origin

C19: of unknown origin
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 shoddy

adj.

1862, "having a delusive appearance of high quality," a Northern word from the American Civil War in reference to the quality of government supplies for the armies, from earlier noun meaning "rag-wool, wool made of woolen waste and old rags" (1832), perhaps a Yorkshire provincial word, of uncertain origin.

Originally used for padding, English manufacturers began making coarse wearing clothes from it, and when new it looked like broad-cloth but the gloss quickly wore off, giving the stuff a bad reputation as a cheat. The 1860 U.S. census of manufactures notes import of more than 6 million pounds of it, which was "much used in the manufacture of army and navy cloths and blankets in the United States" according to an 1865 government report.

The Days of Shoddy, as the reader will readily anticipate, are the opening months of the present war, at which time the opprobrious name first came into general use as a designation for swindling and humbug of every character; and nothing more need be said to indicate the scope of this novel. [Henry Morford, "The Days of Shoddy: A Novel of the Great Rebellion in 1861," Philadelphia, 1863]

Related: Shoddily; shoddiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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