adjective, scrub·bi·er, scrub·bi·est.

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 formsscrub·bi·ly, adverbscrub·bi·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scrubby

Contemporary Examples of scrubby

Historical Examples of scrubby

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for scrubby


adjective -bier or -biest

covered with or consisting of scrub
(of trees or vegetation) stunted in growth
British informal messy
Derived Formsscrubbiness, 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

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