Word of the Day

Saturday, November 15, 2008


\FROW-zee\ , adjective;
dirty and untidy; slovenly
smelling bad; musty
"Lady," said a frowzy, spiritless panhandler, "c'n ya lemmee have a quarter to buy my little boy some milk?"
-- The Bleatniks, Time, August 10, 1957
Based on an old apartment building in Spokane, Wash., it is complete with frowzy lobby and stains on the wall that you wouldn't want to analyze too closely.
-- Jerry V. Haines, Minneapolis mind expansion, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2001
The chief of staff's normally impeccable office had become a frowsy litter of coffee cups, cigarette butts, carbines and musette bags.
-- Frank Gibney, Help Seemed Far Away, Time, July 9, 1946
The cold wet shelterless midnight streets of London; the foul and frowsy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn; the haunts of hunger and disease; the shabby rags that scarcely hold together; where are the attractions of these things?
-- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
by 1681, possibly related to dialect form frowsty "smelly," of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old English þroh "rancid"
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