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See more synonyms for shabby on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shabbily

badly, inadequately, insufficiently, crudely, reasonably, poorly, incompetently, meanly, defectively, inexpertly, inferiorly, shabbily, unsuccessfully, cheap, moderately, advantageously, discounted, shoddily

Examples from the Web for shabbily

Historical Examples of shabbily

  • And there was big, handsome, Eddie Arledge, whose father had treated him shabbily.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You have asked the most shabbily dressed person in Elberthal to be your companion.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • He was shabbily dressed, and she did not even know he was the son of a dentist.

  • To treat him shabbily in any way denotes no real appreciation of his presence.

  • Von Wedel, though dressed so shabbily, was the chief spokesman.

    The Minister of Evil

    William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for shabbily


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
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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 shabbily



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper