from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Unkempt; slovenly: frowzy clothes; a frowzy professor.
  • adj. Having an unpleasant smell; musty: a frowzy pantry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Alternative spelling of frowsy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Slovenly; unkempt; untidy; frouzy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In a state of disorder; offensive to the eye; slovenly; soiled; dingy; unkempt; dirty: said especially of the dress or the hair.
  • Musty; rank; frowy.
  • Froward; peevish; surly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. negligent of neatness especially in dress and person; habitually dirty and unkempt


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Origin unknown.


  • And truly I saw Johnny Upright, and his good wife and fair daughters, and frowzy slavey, like so many ghosts flitting eastward through the gloom, the monster city roaring at their heels.


  • There we were, in our Sunday best, watching the frowzy drowsy fille advance to the west.

    French Word-A-Day:

  • And here to the doorstep came the "slavey," very frowzy and very perplexed, to tell me that the missus would let me come back and wait in the kitchen.


  • Soprano Emily Albrink's pert, pearl-toned Susanna may have been the liveliest, most affectionately detailed performance of the evening, but the coltish Cherubino of mezzo Brandy Lynn Hawkins, the amusingly frowzy Marcellina of mezzo Cynthia Hanna and the winkingly flamboyant turn by tenor Jesús Daniel Hernandez as Basilio all made fine impressions.

    In performance: WNO's young artists in "Nozze"

  • The old lady with the shawl and trowel adores her frowzy garden and in the vanished days of the empire-the pulse of the explorer quickened at the sight of a desert floor.

    Bringing It All Back Home

  • She walked in the door, Tanya Berenger, in a maxidress and thrift-shop boots, once a well-known costume designer, now ancient and frowzy, living in a room in a sad hotel off Times Square, a place where the desk clerk sits behind a grille eating a tongue sandwich.


  • This knife-wielding psychopath isn't jaunty, but hunched and frowzy.

    A suffocatingly dark 'Knight'

  • With all the intensity at her command, this excellent actress is playing a weary, frowzy woman, out of work and frighteningly down on her luck.

    'The Bank Job'

  • 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.

    The Old Curiosity Shop

  • The proprietor of this charming retreat, and owner of the ragged head before mentioned — for he wore an old tie – wig as bare and frowzy as a stunted hearth – broom — had by this time joined them; and stood a little apart, rubbing his hands, wagging his hoary bristled chin, and smiling in silence.

    Barnaby Rudge


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  • NO does not match


    April 22, 2013

  • My parents were from Lancashire UK, and frowsy (frowzy) meant that feeling you get when you wake up after a lunchtime nap - tired, muzzy, slightly vague, dishevelled. The sort of feeling you get when you need to get going and shake off the torpor!

    August 4, 2010

  • also frowsy; underused

    April 19, 2010

  • OED says perhaps cognate with frowsty, which it says is of uncertain origin but looks like OF frouste, meaning ruinous, decayed. There's also a reference to frowze, n., meaning perhaps "a wig of frizzed hair worn by women", also called uncertain and perhaps an alteration of frounce with reference to friz and fuzz.

    I can't believe it has anything to do with frau, since frauen are not in the slightest frowzy.

    August 17, 2009

  • Says who? Origin uncertain according to Online Etymological Dictionary (see OE link above).

    August 17, 2009

  • (adj): A woman who is somewhat muscular, and has mannish mannerisms, possibly including facial hair. From the german: frau.

    August 17, 2009