English

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Etymology

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Origin unknown; possibly a variant of frowsy (frousy, frouzy, frowzy),[1] etymology also unknown;[2][3] and possibly related to Old French frouste (decayed, in a state of ruin). Compare also froughy, frow, frowy.[4][5]

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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frowsty (comparative frowstier, superlative frowstiest) (British, dialectal)

  1. Of an atmosphere: not fresh; close, musty, stuffy; of an object: having a musty, stale odour.
    Synonyms: (British, dialectal) frowsy, frowzy; (British, dialectal) frowy; fusty
    • 1917 May, Siegfried Sassoon, “A Working Party”, in The Old Huntsman and Other Poems, London: William Heinemann, published January 1918, →OCLC, stanza 6, page 29:
      He thought of getting back by half-past twelve, / And tot of rum to send him warm to sleep / In draughty dug-out frowsty with the fumes / Of coke, and full of snoring, weary men.
    • 1921, W[alter] L[ionel] George, “Playgrounds”, in A London Mosaic, New York, N.Y.: Frederick A[bbott] Stokes Company, →OCLC, pages 15–16:
      [T]he London theatres themselves, nearly all of them, the meanest, dirtiest, dingiest, fustiest, frowstiest edifices in the country.
    • 1968 September 11 (date written), Janice Rossen, quoting Philip Larkin, “Philip Larkin Abroad”, in Dale Salwak, editor, Philip Larkin: The Man and His Work, Basingstoke, Hampshire; London: The Macmillan Press, published 1989, →DOI, →ISBN, page 48:
      [W]hy are single rooms so much worse than double ones? Fewer, further, frowstier? Damper, darker, dingier? Noisier, narrower, nastier?
      From a letter written to Barbara Pym.
    • 2000, Brian [John William] Thompson, “Going Home”, in A Monkey among Crocodiles: The Disastrous Life of Mrs. Georgina Weldon, London: Flamingo, HarperCollinsPublishers, →ISBN, page 38:
      Perhaps the very best people were in Paris, but there was enough going on in Brussels to replicate that older, frowstier form of society that was to Morgan's taste.
      A figurative use.
  2. Of a person: dull, slow; also, unkempt, untidy.
    Synonym: (British, dialectal) frowsy, frowzy
    • 1918–1921 (date written), D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, “XX Settembre”, in Aaron’s Rod, New York, N.Y.: Thomas Seltzer, published April 1922, →OCLC, page 215:
      A window opened above the shop, and a frowsty-looking man, yellow-pale, was quickly and nervously hauling in the national flag. There were shouts of derision and mockery—a great overtone of acrid derision—the flag and its owner ignominiously disappeared.
    • 1933 September, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, “The Text Resumes: The Tyranny of the Second Council”, in The Shape of Things to Come, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, →OCLC, 4th book (The Modern State Militant), page 362:
      Man, he says, was still "frowsty-minded" and "half asleep" in the early twenty-first century, still in urgent danger of a relapse into the confused nightmare living of the Age of Frustration.
    • 1950, C[live] S[taples] Lewis, “The Spell Begins to Break”, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [], London: Geoffrey Bles, →OCLC:
      So Mrs. Beaver and the children came bundling out of the cave, all blinking in the daylight, and with earth all over them, and looking very frowsty and unbrushed and uncombed and with the sleep in their eyes.

Alternative forms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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References

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  1. ^ frowsty, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ frowzy, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; frowzy, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ Joseph Wright, editor (1900), “FROWSY, adj.”, in The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volume II (D–G), London: Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam’s Sons, →OCLC, page 507, column 2.
  4. ^ frowsty, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.
  5. ^ Joseph Wright, editor (1900), “FROWSTY, adj.”, in The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volume II (D–G), London: Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam’s Sons, →OCLC, page 507, column 2.