Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Retaining in present shabbiness traces of former gentility; aping gentility, but really shabby.
- adj. trying to maintain dignity and self respect despite shabbiness
“Even more of Dickens's characters are what became known as "shabby-genteel": people who are keeping up appearances despite precarious finances, as the Dickens family once was.”
“Her own shabby-genteel clothing fit in perfectly here, giving her no cause for embarrassment.”
“It was a poky, little, shabby-genteel place, where four lines of dingy two-storied brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclo - sure, where a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurel-bushes made a hard fight against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere.”
“But in the original double album, and in the Who's live performances of the work, they created a musical earthquake that opened cracks in the complacency of a shabby-genteel culture.”
“I turn now to that commentary: a series of moments when the encounter of well-heeled bibliomaniac and shabby-genteel minor Romantic seems to make them each other's mirror images, united by a common unwillingness to conceive of books as something we might assimilate as pure mental phenomena, and a readiness to allow literariness to be effaced by the volumes that lodge it.”
“He was an eccentric mixture, a novelist of talent but a pamphleteer of genius, an aesthete whose trademark was gritty realism, a radical socialist with a conservative nostalgia for the shabby-genteel England of his Edwardian childhood.”
“On the other hand the children of shabby-genteel families could not be blamed if they grew up with a hatred of the working class, typified for them by prowling gangs of”
“In the kind of shabby-genteel family that I am talking about there is far more consciousness of poverty than in any working-class family above the level of the dole.”
“The Faubourg Saint-Germain may have its barriers also, but these are less ‘telling’ to the eyes and imagination of the ‘shabby-genteel.’”
“The newcomer was a man short and powerfully built, dressed in a shabby-genteel sort of way, with a massive head covered with black hair, heavy side whiskers and moustache, and a clean shaved chin, which had that blue appearance common to very dark men who shave.”
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