from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Made of or containing inferior material.
  • adjective Of poor quality or craft.
  • adjective Rundown; shabby.
  • adjective Dishonest or reprehensible.
  • adjective Conspicuously and cheaply imitative.
  • noun Woolen yarn made partially or entirely from scraps or used clothing.
  • noun Cloth made from or containing such yarn.
  • noun Something of inferior quality; a cheap imitation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A woolen material felted together, composed of old woolen cloth torn into shreds, the rejected threads from the weaving of finer cloths, and the like. Com-pare mungo.
  • noun The inferior cloth made from this substance; hence, any unsubstantial and almost worthless goods.
  • noun A person or thing combining assumption of superior excellence with actual inferiority; pretense; sham; vulgar assumption.
  • Made of shoddy: as, shoddy cloth. Hence Of a trashy or inferior character: as, shoddy literature.
  • Pretending to an excellence not possessed; pretentious; sham; counterfeit; ambitious for prominence or influence not deserved by character or breeding, but aspired to on account of newly acquired wealth: as, a shoddy aristocracy. See I., 2.
  • To convert into shoddy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A fibrous material obtained by “deviling,” or tearing into fibers, refuse woolen goods, old stockings, rags, druggets, etc. See mungo.
  • noun Fluffy, fibrous waste from wool carding, worsted spinning, or weaving of woolens.
  • noun A fabric of inferior quality made of, or containing a large amount of, shoddy.
  • adjective Made wholly or in part of shoddy; containing shoddy; ; hence, colloquially, not genuine; sham; pretentious.
  • adjective of poor quality or inferior workmanship.
  • adjective visibly worn or damaged from use; shabby.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Being of poor quality or construction
  • noun A low-grade cloth made from by-products of wool processing, or from recycled wool.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective designed to deceive or mislead either deliberately or inadvertently
  • noun reclaimed wool fiber
  • adjective of inferior workmanship and materials
  • adjective cheap and shoddy


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Earlier shoddy, worthless material, yarn made by shredding used woolen rags, perhaps from dialectal shoad, shode, loose fragments of ore on the ground indicating the presence of a lode, from Old English scādan, scēadan, to shed, divide ; see skei- in Indo-European roots.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word shoddy.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Can you call the first one a definition, you shoddy Weirdnet?!

    October 8, 2008

  • If "shoddy" is defined as "cheap and shoddy", then isn't "shoddy" actually "cheap and cheap and cheap and cheap and cheap and..." in an endless succession of "cheap"s? In fact, I believe shoddy would simply be "cheap" ad infinitum, never actually getting to the shoddy bit at all.

    October 8, 2008

  • Very interesting. The Weirdnet Paradox.

    October 8, 2008

  • shod inferior, second hand wool

    July 9, 2009

  • The Inside Story Of How An Ivy League Food Scientist Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies

    February 27, 2018