Is “sooty” natural as an adjective?

The front doors of the burning building opened and a sooty Frank
came out carrying his injured girlfriend in his arms.

  1. Is “sooty” the natural choice of word here?

  2. Is it okay to say that someone is “sooty” or would it be way more natural to say that someone is covered in soot?


“sooty” is a perfectly natural way to indicate that someone is covered in soot, or stained with soot, as from a fire. It could also be applied to the walls or other objects.

In the supplied quotation that seems to be the sense used (please provide a source, by the way.)

Soot is rather less common than it was when wood or coal fires were a usual means of heating a building.

However, ‘sooty” has been used to refer to a person’s natural complexion, when that is black or brown. In that use it is an ethnic slur, and is also an outdated usage.

Source : Link , Question Author : user134579 , Answer Author : David Siegel

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