Meaning of shabby in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʃabi/

See synonyms for shabby

Translate shabby into Spanish

adjectiveadjective shabbier, adjective shabbiest

  • 1In poor condition through long use or lack of care.

    ‘a conscript in a shabby uniform saluted the car’
    • ‘Yet their fictional lives are placed in direct contrast with their shabby and poor surroundings.’
    • ‘Regardless of the kitchen's shabby condition, this was home to Isis.’
    • ‘They were in shabby condition, having fallen into disrepair.’
    • ‘We are running short of food, our uniforms are shabby and dull, our shoes are full of holes, and we are also short on ammunition.’
    • ‘Maybe it's the lack of people, the lack of cars and the shuttered shabby houses.’
    • ‘Warsaw is still full of grey Soviet-style buildings, a few haphazardly-built modern high rises and shabby stores selling cheap goods.’
    • ‘It was small, cheap, and shabby, but she had still called it home for the last few years.’
    • ‘He habitually wore shabby tweeds and a cloth cap of the kind favoured by Cockney barrow boys, also by country squires.’
    • ‘The boy, wearing a formal but slightly shabby overcoat, is standing, while his mother is seated, so his head is slightly higher than hers.’
    • ‘The hospital wards are shabby and rundown, staff spend as much time filling out forms as dealing with patients, everyone is overworked and over stressed.’
    • ‘When confronted with the reality of a shabby and hostile England unlike the England of her dreams, she is utterly horrified.’
    • ‘I stayed with them in their base at Sukhum, a shabby old Soviet hotel with peacocks in the garden.’
    • ‘It was much simpler in the old days when everyone had to decorate their homes with the look of the moment, whether it was casual ethnic, urban contemporary, country floral or shabby chic.’
    • ‘‘Got a letter here I'd like to be mailed,’ the young man said handing the letter to the short stocky man sitting on a small cot in the shabby tent.’
    • ‘He was standing in a room, now wearing a pair of grey pants, a white short-sleeved shirt, and a pair of shabby looking boots.’
    • ‘I muttered, eyes glued to those clothes, worn and shabby looking.’
    • ‘Sadness filled Jason's eyes and he stood there looking at Trevor with his shabby clothes and worn shoes.’
    • ‘All of the houses were wooden, and most of the people were dressed in shabby clothes.’
    • ‘The men are dressed in shabby, quilted jackets; they are bareheaded and barefoot.’
    • ‘And when some of the finer diners cast a disdainful eye upon their shabby, old-fashioned dresses, the two women merely giggled and stared right back at them.’
    run down, down at heel, scruffy, uncared-for, neglected, dilapidated, in disrepair, ramshackle, tumbledown
    scruffy, well worn, worn, old, worn out, threadbare, moth-eaten, mangy, ragged, frayed, tattered, battered, decrepit, having seen better days, falling apart at the seams
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    1. 1.1Dressed in old or worn clothes.
      ‘a shabby fellow in slippers and an undershirt’
      • ‘There was an aura of displacement about him, I felt, and it wasn't because of his ragged clothes or the shabby appearance.’
      • ‘She's a shabby infant among lawyers clad in immaculate coal-coloured, pleated robes.’
      • ‘Confucius said, ‘Lavishness leads to arrogance, frugality leads to shabbiness, but it is better to be shabby than arrogant’.’
      • ‘Apart from his improper and shabby looks, his weird name became the object of her cruel jokes.’
      • ‘I was pretty shabby coming right from the hospital.’
      scruffy, well worn, worn, old, worn out, threadbare, moth-eaten, mangy, ragged, frayed, tattered, battered, decrepit, having seen better days, falling apart at the seams
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  • 2(of behaviour) mean and unfair.

    ‘Snooping, was he? That's a shabby trick’
    • ‘Finally, on the biographical debit side there are the usual miscellaneous acts of thoughtlessness, rudeness and generally shabby behaviour.’
    • ‘This was, I find, a piece of calculatedly shabby behaviour by which he hoped he might seize some tactical advantage over Mrs Ellis.’
    • ‘‘Their increasingly shabby treatment of people like me is one of the reasons their results are in a tailspin,’ said my friend.’
    • ‘If Huck had felt ‘ornery’ and insignificant in the face of Providence Jim is capable of the same emotion when he recalls his shabby treatment of Elizabeth.’
    • ‘Why does he think her shabby treatment of you is acceptable?’
    • ‘The door holds fast for just a moment before giving, groaning its displeasure at the shabby treatment it has recently received.’
    • ‘Sadly, that same sort of shabby treatment has been accorded some of the mystery world's most beloved authors.’
    • ‘By all accounts, the denunciations of shabby treatment by various news and current affairs programs come from around the room.’
    • ‘Of some sociological interest is the shabby treatment of Anne by the other leads.’
    • ‘If the rest of the world isn't getting this kind of shabby treatment, why should we?’
    • ‘It is a shabby and disrespectful epitaph for the tweedy old Bernard Quatermass and his adventures, which date back almost to the advent of television.’
    • ‘Despite his sometimes shabby behavior, he has nobility of spirit compared to the bigger-budget showbiz types who are his rivals.’
    contemptible, despicable, dishonourable, disreputable, discreditable, mean, mean-spirited, base, low, dirty, shameful, sorry, ignoble, unfair, unworthy, ungenerous, unkind, ungentlemanly, cheap, shoddy, unpleasant, nasty
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Mid 17th century from dialect shab ‘scab’ (from a Germanic base meaning ‘itch’) + -y.