Senior Member
This is an extract from the novel A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.

When they moved to Yorkshire Teddy found himself in an indifferent boys’ grammar school in a smallish woollen mill town, soot-soiled and shoddy, that was quietly dying, and knew from the very frst lesson – Romeo and Juliet, ‘Women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall’ – to a class of sniggering thirteen-year olds that it had been a mistake.

Would you like to explain the meaning of soot-soiled to me? Thank you.
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Soiled with [= stained with / made dirty by] soot.

    soot /sʊt, sut/ n. [uncountable]Chemistry a black substance produced during incomplete burning of coal, etc., rising in tiny particles that stick to and blacken surfaces on contact:


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Soot" is generally the after product of a fire. The ash and soot are remaining. The soot is nearly black.

    Crossed posts with Franco. It appears we are in basic agreement.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Soot-soiled" means dirty with soot. "[Contaminant]-soiled" is a common collocation.

    I was brought up in the largest Yorkshire woollen mill town, Bradford, and went to the rather good grammar school there! When I was a small boy, the older buildings were perfectly black with coal soot. In the nineteen seventies they were carefully sprayed with strong jets of sand and water to reveal the honey-coloured sandstone beneath ("sand-blasting").
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