Definitions

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

  • noun A negligible amount.
  • noun A slovenly woman; a slattern.
  • noun A woman prostitute.
  • intransitive verb To consort with prostitutes.
  • adjective Of a dull grayish to yellowish brown.
  • adjective Of a light olive brown or khaki color.
  • adjective Faded and dull in appearance.
  • adjective Dull or commonplace in character; dreary: synonym: dull.
  • noun A dull grayish to yellowish or light olive brown.
  • noun Cloth of this color or of an unbleached natural color.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A thick woolen cloth of a yellowish-gray color.
  • noun A yellowish-gray tint.
  • Of a yellowish-gray color, like the cloth so called.
  • noun A kind of wooden box used in salt-works for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling-pans. Its bottom is shelving or inclining, that the water may drain off.
  • noun An English collectors' name for a number of noctuid moths of a drab color: as, the clouded drab, Tæniocampa instabilis; the northern drab, T. opima; the lead-colored drab, T. populeti.
  • To associate with strumpets.
  • noun A slut; a slattern.
  • noun A strumpet; a prostitute.

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

  • noun A low, sluttish woman.
  • noun A lewd wench; a strumpet.
  • noun A wooden box, used in salt works for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling pans.
  • adjective Of a color between gray and brown.
  • intransitive verb To associate with strumpets; to wench.
  • noun A kind of thick woolen cloth of a dun, or dull brownish yellow, or dull gray, color; -- called also drabcloth.
  • noun A dull brownish yellow or dull gray color.

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

  • noun dated A dirty or untidy woman; a slattern.
  • noun dated A promiscuous woman, a slut; a prostitute.
  • verb obsolete To consort with prostitutes.
  • noun A fabric, usually of thick wool or cotton, having a drab blee.
  • noun A wooden box, used in salt works for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling pans.
  • adjective Dull, uninteresting, particularly of colour.

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

  • adjective lacking in liveliness or charm or surprise
  • adjective of a light brownish green color
  • adjective lacking brightness or color; dull
  • adjective causing dejection
  • noun a dull greyish to yellowish or light olive brown

Etymologies

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

[Probably alteration of drib.]

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

[Possibly of Celtic origin (akin to Scottish Gaelic dràbag and Irish Gaelic drabóg, slattern) or from Dutch drab, dregs.]

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

[Alteration of obsolete French drap, cloth, from Old French; see drape.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; probably compare Irish drabog, Gaelic drabag ("dirty woman").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, meaning "color of undyed cloth", from Middle French drap ("cloth"), from Late Latin drappus ("drabcloth, kerchief") (6th century, Vita Caesaris Arelatis), from Gaulish *drappo, from Proto-Indo-European *drep- (“to scratch, tear”) (compare Old Norse trof ("fringes"), trefja ("to rub, wear out"), Lithuanian drãpanos ("household linens"), Serbo-Croatian drápati ("to scratch, scrape"), Ancient Greek δρέπω (drépein, "to pluck"), Avestan drafša ("flag, banner"), Sanskrit द्रापि (drāpí, "mantle, gown")).

Examples

  • The language is difficult to understand and it is just plain drab to read.

    Bilingual And Esl Classrooms: Bilingual And English-as-a-second-language Classrooms « Books « Literacy News

  • I was often told to cut my hair, to wear shorter heels, to dress in drab colors.

    Krystal Ball: The Next Glass Ceiling

  • A young student of Germans and Jews, supporting himself on grant money and dressed warmly in drab sidewalk grays, beset by his ideas and his passion, he announces, “They are an immoral gaggle of sleazy, lying, undemocratic and dangerous, ulterior motive-driven despots.”

    COCOONED • by J.A. Matthews

  • I was often told to cut my hair, to wear shorter heels, to dress in drab colors.

    Krystal Ball: The Next Glass Ceiling

  • I objected to the fact that most movies, even period movies, show the poor people in drab colors and torn costumes.

    Year Around Feminine Fashions

  • I objected to the fact that most movies, even period movies, show the poor people in drab colors and torn costumes.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • Lasting sometimes for days in drab locales, drizzle can move large amounts of water from the atmosphere.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • The streets were dominated by men in drab clothes; boys carried trays of coffee and tea into offices; and the bus station was a jumble of produce stands amid lines of vehicles departing at no particular time — no disadvantage for me, because this was a traditional society in which strangers are immediately looked after.

    Israel Now

  • The streets were dominated by men in drab clothes; boys carried trays of coffee and tea into offices; and the bus station was a jumble of produce stands amid lines of vehicles departing at no particular time — no disadvantage for me, because this was a traditional society in which strangers are immediately looked after.

    Israel Now

  • The streets were dominated by men in drab clothes; boys carried trays of coffee and tea into offices; and the bus station was a jumble of produce stands amid lines of vehicles departing at no particular time — no disadvantage for me, because this was a traditional society in which strangers are immediately looked after.

    Israel Now

Comments

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

  • Bard in reverse.

    July 22, 2007

  • Noun form (Shorter OED):

    A dirty, untidy woman; a slut, a slattern

    April 12, 2008

  • As a colour (Shorter OED):

    A dull, light brown.

    "Woe to white gowns! Woe to black! Drab was your only wear." (M.R. Mitford)

    April 12, 2008