Usually, a person who is untidy is said to have a "shabby" appearance. The expression has become so commonplace that many simply do not think about how it came about. There are two versions of the origin of this catch phrase.
The first version. The word "meal", translated from Greek, means "table". What is the connection between a table and a slovenly dressed person? Is it really necessary to go to the table in this form? It is believed that a similar expression appeared in theological seminaries. The pupils of these institutions, as a rule, came from poor families, therefore, they dressed very modestly. An exception was made only for solemn divine services, but for a meal, or, as they said in seminaries, for a meal, they came in simpler attire.
The version is interesting, but there is another one, no less convincing. During the reign of Peter the Great, the training of Russian merchants abroad was encouraged so that the knowledge gained there could be applied in the Russian state. Among those sent abroad was the Yaroslavl merchant Ivan Maksimovich Zatrapezny (according to another version - Zatrapeznikov).
After seven years of study in a foreign land, Ivan Maksimovich returned to Russia and opened a linen manufactory in his native Yaroslavl. He produced Shabby not only fabric for state needs, but also rough cheap products made of flax and hemp, which were in great demand among the common people. Shirts, trousers, work clothes for the poor were sewn from it. The people called this fabric "shabby". Well, about a person who simply did not have the opportunity to wear other clothes, they said that he looked "shabby".
The factory of Ivan Zatrapezny enjoyed the patronage of Emperor Peter the Great, by whose decree it was exempted from all trade duties for 5 years.
No less interesting is the origin of the word "slobber". If you look into the dictionary of Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl, you can read that this is how they called in Russia "a carefree rattle or a crank." In the same dictionary, "gil" means "turmoil, rebellion, congregation." In short, a slob could be called an irresponsible person prone to illegal actions.
But, starting from the 18th century, the guilty merchant was also called a slob. Again, during the time of Peter the Great, a new word appeared in Russia - "guild". The merchants were first divided into two guilds, and since 1742, when Peter's daughter Elizabeth ruled, they added one more - a third.
Merchants were divided into guilds depending on the size of their capital. The most privileged were the merchants of the first guild. They were allowed to conduct their business not only throughout the country, but also abroad. And also have sea vessels.
The merchants of the second guild could trade on the territory of Russia and acquire river vessels. And finally, the third guild. It included those who had small trade or small production.
For each guild, there were certain rules, the observance of which was monitored not only by the state, but also by the merchants themselves. For non-payment of duties or violation of the rules of trade, the merchant could be expelled from the guild, and the insulting nickname "sloven" stuck to him for life.