- Having a stale, warm, and stuffy atmosphere.
“You need to let some air into your frowsty office before you have any visitors.”
“The windows were painted shut, which contributed to the frowsty conditions in the back hallway.”
“The basement has always been frowsty, but you can turn on the fan while you’re down there.”
British English, Late 19th century
Why this word?
Picture a British university professor, perhaps in a tweed jacket and spectacles, tucked away in a stuffy, dusty, overheated office — that’s the epitome of “frowsty.” This British adjective very specifically means “having a stale, warm, and stuffy atmosphere.” While it can be used to describe any sort of stagnant situation, doesn’t it conjure up an image of wool and stacks of old books?
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