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[shod-ee] /ˈʃɒd i/
adjective, shoddier, shoddiest.
of poor quality or inferior workmanship:
a shoddy bookcase.
intentionally rude or inconsiderate; shabby:
shoddy behavior.
noun, plural shoddies.
a fibrous material obtained by shredding unfelted rags or waste.
Compare mungo.
anything inferior, especially a handmade item or manufactured product.
Origin of shoddy
1825-35; origin uncertain
Related forms
shoddily, adverb
shoddiness, noun
half-shoddy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for shoddy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How could his shoddy word weigh against Garrison's, fashioned from the whole cloth and with loyalty, love on Garrison's side?

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • Most of the novels and non-scholastic books were of a shoddy, sensational type.

    Cleo The Magnificent Louis Zangwill
  • Kradsuld is Norwegian for shoddy, and sounds worlds more respectable, I am sure.

    Glimpses of Three Coasts Helen Hunt Jackson
  • You can tell at a glance that it is shoddy and quite unfit for wearing.

  • The former was originally applied to a discharged soldier, and perhaps came from shoddy, of which soldiers coats are made.

British Dictionary definitions for shoddy


adjective -dier, -diest
imitating something of better quality
of poor quality; trashy
made of shoddy material
noun (pl) -dies
a yarn or fabric made from wool waste or clippings
anything of inferior quality that is designed to simulate superior quality
Derived Forms
shoddily, adverb
shoddiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: of unknown origin
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
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Word Origin and History for shoddy

1862, "having a delusive appearance of high quality," a Northern word from the American Civil War in reference to the quality of government supplies for the armies, from earlier noun meaning "rag-wool, wool made of woolen waste and old rags" (1832), perhaps a Yorkshire provincial word, of uncertain origin.

Originally used for padding, English manufacturers began making coarse wearing clothes from it, and when new it looked like broad-cloth but the gloss quickly wore off, giving the stuff a bad reputation as a cheat. The 1860 U.S. census of manufactures notes import of more than 6 million pounds of it, which was "much used in the manufacture of army and navy cloths and blankets in the United States" according to an 1865 government report.

The Days of Shoddy, as the reader will readily anticipate, are the opening months of the present war, at which time the opprobrious name first came into general use as a designation for swindling and humbug of every character; and nothing more need be said to indicate the scope of this novel. [Henry Morford, "The Days of Shoddy: A Novel of the Great Rebellion in 1861," Philadelphia, 1863]
Related: Shoddily; shoddiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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