Grubby things are really dirty, like your little sister's grubby hands after she's spent an afternoon making mud pies.

Have you ever seen a little kid eat a chocolate ice cream cone on a hot day? Picture the kid's face covered in chocolate and you'll have a good idea of what grubby means! This adjective dates back to the mid-19th century, from grub, which means "insect larva" and which was once colloquially used to mean "dirty child."

Definitions of grubby
  1. adjective
    thickly covered with ingrained dirt or soot
    grubby little fingers”
    synonyms: begrimed, dingy, grimy, grungy, raunchy
    dirty, soiled, unclean
    soiled or likely to soil with dirt or grime
  2. adjective
    infested with grubs
  3. noun
    small sculpin of the coast of New England
    synonyms: Myxocephalus aenaeus
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    type of:
    any of numerous spiny large-headed usually scaleless scorpaenoid fishes with broad mouths
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