Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


adj. shab·bi·er, shab·bi·est
a. Showing signs of wear and tear; threadbare or worn-out: shabby furniture.
b. Dilapidated or deteriorated in condition, especially through neglect; seedy: a shabby little park.
2. Wearing threadbare clothing.
a. Despicable; mean: a shabby trick.
b. Not generous or just; unfair: shabby treatment.
c. Of mediocre or substandard quality.

[From obsolete shab, scab, from Middle English schab, from Old English sceabb.]

shab′bi·ly adv.
shab′bi·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



dog-eared Folded over or down, as the corner of a page in a book; used, worn, shabby. The term obviously derives from the fact that such a flap resembles a dog’s ear. Since a book with many such pages has been read and acquired a shabby appearance in the process, the word dog-eared takes on its secondary ‘used, worn’ meaning.

down-at-the-heel See POVERTY.

like a dog’s breakfast Sloppy, messy, disheveled, unkempt; showing little taste or style. This British colloquial expression means the opposite of like a dog’s dinner. Why a canine’s breakfast is associated with sloppiness and a canine’s dinner with neatness and style is left unexplained.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Shabbiness - a lack of elegance as a consequence of wearing threadbare or dirty clothingshabbiness - a lack of elegance as a consequence of wearing threadbare or dirty clothing
inelegance - the quality of lacking refinement and good taste
raggedness - shabbiness by virtue of being in rags
2.Shabbiness - an unjust actshabbiness - an unjust act        
actus reus, wrongful conduct, misconduct, wrongdoing - activity that transgresses moral or civil law; "he denied any wrongdoing"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
tötralegt útlit; skömm


[ˈʃæbɪnɪs] N
1. [of dress, person] → desaliño m, pobreza f
2. [of treatment] → injusticia f, vileza f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (lit, fig)Schäbigkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈʃæbɪnɪs] n (of dress, person) → trasandatezza; (of building) → squallore m; (of treatment) → meschinità
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈʃӕbi) adjective
1. looking old and worn. shabby curtains; shabby clothes.
2. wearing old or dirty clothes. a shabby old man; He used to be so smart but he looks shabby now.
3. (of behaviour) unworthy or mean. That was a shabby thing to do.
ˈshabbily adverb
ˈshabbiness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Could anyone in a government office display greater shabbiness? It is dreadful, my Barbara--it is simply dreadful!
Their gray uniforms were worn beyond the point of shabbiness. One of the men was heating something in a tin cup over the embers.
He can let his hotel run down to the last degree of shabbiness and yet have it full of people all the time.
The shabbiness of these attendants upon shabbiness, the poverty of these insolvent waiters upon insolvency, was a sight to see.
She gathered up her baby once more; but when her eye fell upon its miserably short little gray tow-linen shirt and noted the contrast between its pauper shabbiness and her own volcanic eruption of infernal splendors, her mother-heart was touched, and she was ashamed.
His shabbiness did not trouble him; there was none of his friends round about to sneer him.
When in luck he was able to make a tidy sum; but the shabbiness of his clothes at last frightened the sight-seers, and he could not find people adventurous enough to trust themselves to him.
The hotel was continually losing patronage because of its shabbiness and she thought of herself as also shabby.
Poor fellow, I say, with his nervous honour, fancying they perceive a league off the patch on his shoe, the sweat-stains on his hat, the shabbiness of his cloak, and the hunger of his stomach!"
The preservation of that garment was something marvellous to those who noticed the chevalier's high-bred indifference to its shabbiness. He did not go so far as to scrape the seams with glass,--a refinement invented by the Prince of Wales; but he did practice the rudiments of English elegance with a personal satisfaction little understood by the people of Alencon.
I was sorry to do this, for personally I liked it better as it was, with its weeds and its wild, rough tangle, its sweet, characteristic Venetian shabbiness. I had to be consistent, to keep my promise that I would smother the house in flowers.
Maggie ran on before to see that all was right in the dreary parlor, where the fire, dulled by the frosty sunshine, seemed part of the general shabbiness. She turned her father's chair, and pushed aside the table to make an easy way for him, and then stood with a beating heart to see him enter and look round for the first time.