frowsy

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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
Recent Examples on the Web Before the current renovation of the franchised hotels, the rooms looked as if they were stuck in a fussy, frowsy 1980s floral rut. BostonGlobe.com, "Howard Johnson looks back to restyle its hotels for the future - The Boston Globe," 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frowsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of frowsy

1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frowsy

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about frowsy

Time Traveler for frowsy

Time Traveler

The first known use of frowsy was in 1681

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about frowsy

Statistics for frowsy

Cite this Entry

“Frowsy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/frowsy. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for frowsy

frowsy

adjective
How to pronounce frowsy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of frowsy

US, informal : having a messy or dirty appearance

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on frowsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frowsy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!