frumpy

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Jimandy

Member
Singapore
Hi, I'm looking up the word "frumpy", and the definition says it means "a woman who is frumpy looks unattractive because she

dresses in old-fashioned clothes". Is this word only used for women? How about men? Is there a word to describe men who are

dressed unfashionably?

Thank you.
 
  • MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Hi, I'm looking up the word "frumpy", and the definition says it means "a woman who is frumpy looks unattractive because she

    dresses in old-fashioned clothes". Is this word only used for women? How about men? Is there a word to describe men who are

    dressed unfashionably?

    Thank you.
    No exact equivalent for men springs to mind, but one could say that the male person looked "dated," i.e. dressed in outmoded style. For women, another term that could be used is "dowdy."
     

    Jimandy

    Member
    Singapore
    No exact equivalent for men springs to mind, but one could say that the male person looked "dated," i.e. dressed in outmoded style. For women, another term that could be used is "dowdy."
    How about "tacky"? Is it more common to say "He/She looks tacky"?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    You could use dowdy for a man, I reckon, because you can use it about furniture and decor as well as people. Frumpy does seem to be more female-specific.

    Tacky is not the same, it means in poor taste, like cheap beads or wearing clothes better suited to someone younger than the person being criticised.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Out of interest I Googled (UK) "frumpy man" and, after I insisted I did not mean "grumpy man", it gave 108 answers. Not a lot!
    It is possible that it is not used for men for sociological rather than linguistic reasons: men tend to dress uniformly* apart from, rightly or wrongly, considering they don't need to dress attractively.

    *I was recently at a scientific seminar and noted that all the 30 or so men, including myself, were wearing pullovers and corduroy trousers!
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Uncle Bob, I bet you all looked very dowdy too, all dressed in shades of grey and brown no doubt?
    Dowdy but not frumpy:).
    (I seem to remember that a couple had multicoloured pullovers but they were probably young post-doctoral research workers demonstrating their lively imagination, though of course not trying to look attractive).
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    You could use dowdy for a man, I reckon, because you can use it about furniture and decor as well as people. Frumpy does seem to be more female-specific.

    Tacky is not the same, it means in poor taste, like cheap beads or wearing clothes better suited to someone younger than the person being criticised.
    I wholly concur. :D
     

    Sergey2020

    Member
    Russian
    [Threads have been merged at this point. DonnyB - moderator]
    Hi, could you please tell me whether a word frumpy can be used to describe men's clothes and appearance, not women's? All dicitonaries say that this word is used to speak primarily about women's appearance. May be there are better words to describe people's dull and unattractive appearance than frumpy?
    Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Sergey2020

    Member
    Russian
    Have just found a sentence on the website that searches for required words in sentences:
    US President Barack Obama admitted Tuesday he's a little frumpy, but brushed aside suggestions that he should pay greater attention to fashion.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    I'm sure that if you search long enough, you'll find a few other examples of it used of a male. However, you will find very many examples of it being used of women.
     
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