See more synonyms for shabby on
adjective, shab·bi·er, shab·bi·est.
  1. impaired by wear, use, etc.; worn: shabby clothes.
  2. showing conspicuous signs of wear or neglect: The rooms on the upper floors of the mansion had a rather shabby appearance, as if they had not been much in use of late.
  3. wearing worn clothes or having a slovenly or unkempt appearance: a shabby person.
  4. run-down, seedy, or dilapidated: a shabby hotel.
  5. meanly ungenerous or unfair; contemptible, as persons, actions, etc.: shabby behavior.
  6. inferior; not up to par in quality, performance, etc.: a shabby rendition of the sonata.

Origin of shabby

1660–70; shab (Middle English; Old English sceabb scab) + -y1; cognate with German schäbig
Related formsshab·bi·ly, adverbshab·bi·ness, nounun·shab·bi·ly, adverbun·shab·by, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shabbier

Historical Examples of shabbier

  • The one that now stood there was smaller than his own palatial one, and shabbier.

    The Einstein See-Saw

    Miles John Breuer

  • But toward the end of the season the Beans got shabbier than ever.

    Torchy As A Pa

    Sewell Ford

  • The rooms were even smaller and shabbier than he had believed possible.

  • The Khri, was a native, and his robes could not well have been dirtier or shabbier.

    Tent Work in Palestine

    Claude Reignier Conder

  • He was shabbier than ever, poor soul, and he looked pinched and hungry.

    Mohawks, Volume 2 of 3

    Mary Elizabeth Braddon

British Dictionary definitions for shabbier


adjective -bier or -biest
  1. threadbare or dilapidated in appearance
  2. wearing worn and dirty clothes; seedy
  3. mean, despicable, or unworthyshabby treatment
  4. dirty or squalid
Derived Formsshabbily, adverbshabbiness, noun

Word Origin for shabby

C17: from Old English sceabb scab + -y 1
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 shabbier



1660s, of persons, "poorly dressed," with -y (2) + shab "a low fellow" (1630s), literally "scab" (now only dialectal in the literal sense, in reference to a disease of sheep), from Old English sceabb (the native form of the Scandinavian word that yielded Modern English scab; also see sh-). Cf. Middle Dutch schabbich, German schäbig "shabby."

Of clothes, furniture, etc., "of mean appearance, no longer new or fresh" from 1680s; meaning "inferior in quality" is from 1805. Figurative sense "contemptibly mean" is from 1670s. Related: Shabbily; shabbiness. Shabby-genteel "run-down but trying to keep up appearances, retaining in present shabbiness traces of former gentility," first recorded 1754. Related: Shabaroon "disreputable person," c.1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper