• WordNet 3.6
    • adj shabby mean and unworthy and despicable "shabby treatment"
    • adj shabby showing signs of wear and tear "a ratty old overcoat","shabby furniture","an old house with dirty windows and tatty curtains"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Shabby Clothed with ragged, much worn, or soiled garments. "The dean was so shabby ."
    • Shabby Mean; paltry; despicable; as, shabby treatment. "Very shabby fellows."
    • Shabby Torn or worn to rage; poor; mean; ragged. "Wearing shabby coats and dirty shirts."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • shabby Scabby; mangy.
    • shabby Mean; base; scurvy.
    • shabby Of mean appearance; noting clothes and other things which are much worn, or evidence poverty or decay, or persons wearing such clothes; seedy.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Shabby shab′i — threadbare or worn, as clothes: having a look of poverty: mean in look or conduct: low: paltry
    • ***


  • Edward Dahlberg
    “Genius, like truth, has a shabby and neglected mien.”
  • Edgar Z. Friedenberg
    Edgar Z. Friedenberg
    “It takes a kind of shabby arrogance to survive in our time, and a fairly romantic nature to want to.”
  • T. S. Eliot
    “Each venture is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate with shabby equipment always deteriorating in the general mess of imprecision of feeling.”
  • W. H. Auden
    “When I am in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes.”
  • Willa Cather
    “Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
See Shab (n.) Scabby, and Scab
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
An adj. formed from shab, an old by-form of scab—thus a doublet of scabby.


In literature:

It was getting dark when I slipped through a side gate, shabby and inconspicuous, into the spaceport square.
"The Door Through Space" by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Poor old Paris looked very shabby to one who remembered her in former days with her clean streets and many-fountained parks.
"The Great War As I Saw It" by Frederick George Scott
Two rickshaws were waiting under the street lamp, two shabby rickshaws.
"Civilization" by Ellen Newbold La Motte
Those dirty, shabby places, without architecture or interest, the haunts of snotty, ragged children?
"The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari" by James S. De Benneville
Thrusting his bare feet into slippers and his arms into a shabby old bath-robe, he flung himself out of bed and slipped out on the porch.
"Quin" by Alice Hegan Rice
A poor little shabby, overworked thing, all eyes, and too big a forehead.
"Mary Gray" by Katharine Tynan
It was but yesterday, it seems to me, that I heard daughter declaring that she was 'Oh, so shabby!
"Under the Country Sky" by Grace S. Richmond
I s'pose she felt she couldn't do her part; and then, you don't enjoy things when you feel shabby.
"The Best Short Stories of 1917" by Various
The shabby and carelessly put on suit in which Geraldine had appeared this morning told a tale.
"In Apple-Blossom Time" by Clara Louise Burnham
For he was very unobtrusive, small like his house, lean like his purse, shabby as his furniture, humbler than his bric-a-brac.
"Tristram of Blent" by Anthony Hope
She had to admit, now that she more closely inspected them, that the white-haired boy's garments were extremely shabby.
"The Corner House Girls at School" by Grace Brooks Hill
Have you any little book that's gone with you everywhere, that's shabby from your constant use?
"Sacrifice" by Stephen French Whitman
He was shabby enough to be a tramp, that's a fact.
"Ruth Fielding Down East" by Alice B. Emerson
He was small and thin, just about Dennis's age, and he was certainly poor, for his clothes were old and shabby.
"Black, White and Gray" by Amy Walton
The two shabby gentlemen left the church and strolled slowly along the edge of the canal.
"Stradella" by F(rancis) Marion Crawford
Somehow I picture her striding up and down the shabby rooms like a lioness.
"The Best Short Stories of 1919" by Various
English grooms in shabby liveries, worn-out jockeys, and dilapidated body-servants, seemed there to congregate.
"Jack" by Alphonse Daudet
It was shabby with the look of disrepair which all inns had at that time.
"The Kingdom Round the Corner" by Coningsby Dawson
Does this jacket look shabby, Aimee?
"Vagabondia" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The attorney arrived, and Wilhelmine observed how shabby was his coat, how rusty his general appearance.
"A German Pompadour" by Marie Hay

In poetry:

Pale, and shabby, and looking so ill,
Hungry and cold and wet,
On a winter's morning going to mill
The factory-child I met:
"A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. II. The Factory Slave" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.
"The Little Old Lady In Lavender Silk" by Dorothy Parker
Anon I spied a shabby dame
Who fed six sparrows as they came
In famished flight;
She was so poor and frail and old,
Yet crumbs of her last crust she doled
With pure delight.
"Compassion" by Robert W Service
Shabby and sorry and sorely sick,
He slept, and dreamt that the clock's "tick, tick,"
Was one of the Fates, with a long sharp knife,
Snicking off bits of his shortened life.
"The Baby's Vengeance" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Though kin they are, a gulf will grow
Between them with the years;
For one a life of love will know,
The other toil and tears:
Perhaps that shabby rag doll knows
The rue of Marie Rose.
"Ragetty Doll" by Robert W Service
From out her shabby rain-coat pocket
The little Jew girl in the train
Produced a dinted silver locket
With pasted in it portraits twain.
"These are my parents, sir" she said;
"Or were, for now I fear they're dead.
"The Locket" by Robert W Service

In news:

Last weekend, but that's not too shabby for a young team in one of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the country.
But Apple's shabby treatment of the device still leaves plenty of questions unanswered.
Frank and Emma live a quite existence in a shabby Wisconsin farmhouse.
Leafs' class act facing shabby exit.
And the general appearance had become shabby .
Shabby Hattie's closes in Parkville and other sad tales.
Texans aren't looking too shabby at preseason mid-way point.
Coach Bruce Boudreau puts Capitals through grueling workout after shabby effort.
Budapest's 'ruin pubs' are shabby cool.
When Rachel Ashwell's book The Shabby Chic Home was released in 2000, the author and design guru already was well established as a purveyor of new and vintage accessories, furniture and linens at her Santa Monica, Calif, boutique.
Walgreens proposed for Watsonville's Main Street: Project would transform shabby downtown block.
Walgreens proposed for Watsonville's Main Street : Project would transform shabby downtown block.
Not too shabby for a debut single to achieve one million in sales in this day and age.
Will tougher enforcement improve shabby housing on the east side.
Though slightly shabby, a still satisfying "Rent" heats up the Firehouse stage.

In science:

When I see other posts about it being shabby I can’t for the life of me figure out what they are talking about.
Estimating the Prevalence of Deception in Online Review Communities
Except for the kernel, each tool has its own graphical user interface (gui), what looks rather shabby.
Software (Re-)Engineering with PSF II: from architecture to implementation