frow·​sy | \ ˈfrau̇-zē How to pronounce frowsy (audio) \
variants: or frowzy
frowsier or frowzier; frowziest

Definition of frowsy

1 : musty, stale a frowsy smell of stale beer and stale smoke— W. S. Maugham
2 : having a slovenly or uncared-for appearance a couple of frowsy stuffed chairs— R. M. Williams

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Did You Know?

The exact origins of this approximately 330-year-old word may be lost in some frowsy, old book somewhere, but some etymologists have speculated that "frowsy" (also spelled "frowzy") shares a common ancestor with the younger, chiefly British word frowsty, a synonym of "frowsy" in both its senses. That ancestor could be the Old French word frouste, meaning "ruinous" or "decayed," or the now mostly obsolete English word frough or frow, meaning "brittle" or "fragile." The English dramatist Thomas Otway is the first person (as far as we know) to have used "frowsy" in print. In his comedy "The Souldier's Fortune," published in 1681, the character Beau refers to another character as "a frouzy Fellmonger."

Examples of frowsy in a Sentence

a frowsy family living in wretched poverty the abandoned house was dank and frowsy and barely fit for human habitation

First Known Use of frowsy

1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frowsy

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near frowsy

frown on/upon







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Time Traveler for frowsy

The first known use of frowsy was in 1681

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English Language Learners Definition of frowsy

US, informal : having a messy or dirty appearance

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frowsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frowsy

Spanish Central: Translation of frowsy

Comments on frowsy

What made you want to look up frowsy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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