In a word: frowzy

November 12, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be acquainted, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:


Arising obscurely in British regional dialects, frowzy (pronounced FRAU-zee) originally meant "bad smelling," as the closely related word frowsty still does. It has since taken on the sense of "untidy," "scruffy," "neglected in appearance," and (of a place) "dingy."

Example: Charles Dickens introduces Quilp in The Old Curiosity Shop: "Such hair as he had was of a grizzled black, cut short and straight upon his temples, and hanging in a frowzy fringe about his ears."

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