Snow is bombarding the United States and Europe. Airplanes are at a standstill. Travelers are stranded. I imagine that patience is thin and tempers are short for travelers and airport personnel alike. (With 3,000 people stranded in the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, I wonder where they get enough food — and toilet paper for their bathrooms!)
But for children, all of this snow means one thing — er . . . two things: no school and playing in the snow.
Building a snowman is a perennial favorite winter activity for children and adults. I got a snowman building kit for Christmas and I’m excited to use it! When I do, I will be careful to name my snowman ‘Frosty’ and not ‘Frowsty.’ (Sometime my dyslexic fingers type extra letters in words . . .)
While I may not name my snowman Frowsty, I could call my son’s bedroom frowsty — especially if there’s a pile of dirty socks and weeks and weeks of laundry languishing in the bottom of his closet.
Frowsty [frou-stee] is an adjective that means musty, stale, or ill-smelling. The word’s origin is unkown. Some think it came from the Old French word frouste which means ruinous or decayed. That makes sense if you ask me!
Sometimes clothing that has been tucked away in a drawer for a long time might smell frowsty. A locker room can smell frowsty. A raquetball court can smell frowsty after an intense game. Pee-yew!
Variations of the word include frowstier, frowstiest, frowstily, and even frowstinesses. (When, pray tell, would I ever say frowstinesses???)
“This is the frowstiest t-shirt I’ve ever smelled!”
“Your socks are frowstier than mine!”
“I just can’t get this frowstinesses to come out of this old coat that’s been in the attic for 50 years.” Naw. That doesn’t work. Sigh . . .
I guess you could name your snowman Frowsty — if you were a logophile like me and named him that on purpose because of your wonderful sense of humor and not because of a slip of your fingers on the keyboard . . .