adjective, frump·i·er, frump·i·est.

Origin of frumpy

First recorded in 1740–50; frump + -y1
Related formsfrump·i·ly, adverbfrump·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frumpy

Contemporary Examples of frumpy

Historical Examples of frumpy

  • She is frumpy enough for anything; and you call that an engagement?

    The Heart of Una Sackville

    Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

  • This is my grumpy, frumpy story, and we'll keep it to ourselves, Trot!'

    David Copperfield

    Charles Dickens

  • If she had been a stiff, frumpy thing, I just couldn't have paid the least attention to her.

    Brenda's Ward

    Helen Leah Reed

  • She has never ceased to talk about the frumpy crowd she met there.

    Contrary Mary

    Temple Bailey

  • "Do you know, I really liked her better last year, when she was frumpy and dowdy," faltered Dopsy.

    Mount Royal, Volume 3 of 3

    Mary Elizabeth Braddon

British Dictionary definitions for frumpy


frumpish (ˈfrʌmpɪʃ)


(of a woman, clothes, etc) dowdy, drab, or unattractive
Derived Formsfrumpily or frumpishly, adverbfrumpiness or frumpishness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for frumpy

1746, "cross-tempered," from frump (n.) "bad temper" (1660s) and an earlier verb meaning "to mock, browbeat" (1550s), of obscure origin, perhaps imitative of a sneer or derisive snort. Sense of "sour-looking, unfashionable" is from 1825, but this may be a shortening of frumple "to wrinkle, crumple" (late 14c.), from Middle Dutch verrompelen, from ver- "completely" + rompelen "to rumple." Related: Frumps. Cf. also frump.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper