[ drab ]
/ dræb /

adjective, drab·ber, drab·best.

dull; cheerless; lacking in spirit, brightness, etc.
having the color drab.


dull gray; dull brownish or yellowish gray.
any of several fabrics of this color, especially of thick wool or cotton.

Origin of drab

1535–45; < Middle French drap < Late Latin drappus piece of cloth
Related formsdrab·ly, adverbdrab·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for drably

  • The crowd lining the opposite side of the street stood in solid ranks, drably clad, eyes following the procession, mouths working.

    It Could Be Anything|John Keith Laumer
  • To-day it is, next to St. John's Wood, the most drably respectable quarter of the town.

    Nights in London|Thomas Burke
  • They went through drab halls and into drab rooms where drab occupants greeted them drably, and Jane ached with the ugliness of it.

    Jane Journeys On|Ruth Comfort Mitchell

British Dictionary definitions for drably (1 of 2)


/ (dræb) /

adjective drabber or drabbest

dull; dingy; shabby
cheerless; drearya drab evening
of the colour drab


a light olive-brown colour
a fabric of a dull grey or brown colour
Derived Formsdrably, adverbdrabness, noun

Word Origin for drab

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

British Dictionary definitions for drably (2 of 2)


/ (dræb) archaic /


a slatternly woman
a whore

verb drabs, drabbing or drabbed

(intr) to consort with prostitutes

Word Origin for drab

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

Idioms and Phrases with drably


see dribs and drabs.

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