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Alternative forms[edit]


Unknown, but perhaps related to the dialectal adjective frowsty. Attested since the 1680s.[1]



frowsy (comparative frowsier, superlative frowsiest)

  1. Having a dingy, neglected, and scruffy appearance.
    • 1895, Thomas Hardy, chapter 9, in Jude the Obscure[1]:
      Having, like Jude, made rather a hasty toilet to catch the train, Arabella looked a little frowsy, and her face was very far from possessing the animation which had characterized it at the bar the night before.
    • 1916, James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Chapter 3, [2]
      Frowsy girls sat along the curbstones before their baskets.
    • 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part One, Chapter 1, [3]
      He had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy little junk-shop in a slummy quarter of the town (just what quarter he did not now remember) and had been stricken immediately by an overwhelming desire to possess it.
    • See also citations under frowzy.



  1. ^ frowsy” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.