Printable Version
Pronunciation: frêmp Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A dowdy, colorless, dull woman. 2. A sedate, puritanical woman who frowns on fun for fun's sake.

Notes: What?! Having fun again?Today's rather disparaging Good Word has enjoyed enough use to have developed a considerable family. The adjective, meaning "like a frump in mood and attitude" is frumpy (frumpier, frumpiest). It comes with its own noun, frumpiness, and adverb, frumpily, as to frumpily chase the party-goers out. Finally, there is a verb, to frump, meaning "to mock, flout, jeer".

In Play: Here is one way to ruin a long friendship: "The blind date Randy Mann brought for me was a frump in a 19th-century dress and hairdo to match." This Good Word may, however, simply express a minor impatience with someone who is quite dear: "My mother is an old frump who expects me to come home by 10 PM even on weekends!"

Word History: Here we have another word of questionable origins. There was a Middle English word, frumple "wrinkle" from Middle Dutch verrompelen "to wrinkle", often cited as the source. However, frumps are not wrinkles nor do they even have to have them, so this line of reasoning leads nowhere.

Dr. Goodword,

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