shabby-genteel love


from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Retaining in present shabbiness traces of former gentility; aping gentility, but really shabby.

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

  • adj. trying to maintain dignity and self respect despite shabbiness


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • 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.

    Our Dickens

  • Her own shabby-genteel clothing fit in perfectly here, giving her no cause for embarrassment.

    red dust

  • 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.

    Sole Music

  • 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.

    From The Who To The Whom

  • 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.

    "Wedded to Books': Bibliomania and the Romantic Essayists

  • 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.

    The saint of common decency

  • 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

    The Road to Wigan Pier

  • 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 Road to Wigan Pier

  • The Faubourg Saint-Germain may have its barriers also, but these are less ‘telling’ to the eyes and imagination of the ‘shabby-genteel.’

    Within a Budding Grove

  • 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.

    Madame Midas


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