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See more synonyms for scrubby on Thesaurus.com
adjective, scrub·bi·er, scrub·bi·est.
  1. low or stunted, as trees.
  2. consisting of or covered with scrub, stunted trees, etc.
  3. undersized or inferior, as animals.
  4. wretched; shabby.
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Origin of scrubby

First recorded in 1745–55; scrub2 + -y1
Related formsscrub·bi·ly, adverbscrub·bi·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

British Dictionary definitions for scrubby


adjective -bier or -biest
  1. covered with or consisting of scrub
  2. (of trees or vegetation) stunted in growth
  3. British informal messy
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper