Definition of sooty in US English:



  • 1Covered with or colored like soot.

    ‘his olive skin and sooty eyes’
    ‘the front of the fireplace was blackened and sooty’
    • ‘Then, when the motor clattered into action, it belched a sooty puff from the exhaust pipe, terrified nearby cats and deafened all around as you drove away.’
    • ‘On the sooty back window of the bus, someone had drawn a swastika.’
    • ‘The rocks are covered with a black sooty layer of manganese oxides but are quite fresh beneath this weathering crust.’
    • ‘To think that the offices of a big film company had given way to a sooty kitchen with coal stoves, that washermen did the laundry where the beautiful people had once gathered.’
    • ‘The Jewish internees considered the policy anti-Semitic: their quarters were two abandoned, sooty and leaking railway sheds with five cold water taps and six latrines for 720 men.’
    • ‘But they were delighted and amazed when he turned up safe, but very thin and sooty, after an incredible four weeks stuck inside a neighbour's chimney.’
    • ‘Trying to mix the colour of the bricks, I produced something that reminded me of strawberries - far from the dark, sooty colour I needed.’
    • ‘And I am rattled till my screws come loose, I am rattled like, like… the way, when I am in a mood, I attack and scour a sooty pot.’
    • ‘What's with this sooty blackness that covers my fruit at harvest?’
    • ‘A dirty engine with lots of sooty deposits can worsen fuel economy.’
    • ‘For me now, it is the colour of grey, sooty, diesel-smelling exhaust smoke blowing in my face.’
    • ‘Another member of the team once wrote that although Mr Green prepared meals in a blizzard with only a piece of canvas to protect him, his cheerful grin never deserted his sooty face.’
    • ‘During the winter he would spend hours there weighing carbonettes into sacks, a once-white towel wrapped around his head for protection against the sooty dust.’
    • ‘Of course, once they tried to get things out, the roof had collapsed in, covering everything in sooty ashes.’
    • ‘Once alighted, we naively succumbed to the temptation of leaning over the railway bridge at Haworth and got a well-deserved faceful of sooty filth along with many others.’
    • ‘Still, for smokers to light up, there is the small kerosene lamp, its sooty flame guarded by a snipped cigarette packet.’
    • ‘What madness drives these sooty pilgrims to wander to and fro on dirty city streets?’
    • ‘The sooty shearwater flies low over deep water about 50 miles out to sea.’
    • ‘Wall Street was transformed into a scene from the beginning of the last century, perceived as though through a vaseline lens, the effect wrought by sooty air shot though with sunshine.’
    • ‘In the early morning light, last night's wind-danced lamps will become oily, sooty, little clay bowls as you try to find the garden under the rows of deyas.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of birds and other animals that are mainly blackish or brownish black, e.g. sooty tern.
      • ‘The precursor to HIV - 2 does not kill sooty mangabeys.’
      • ‘Got a few lifers for my bird list too, including greater and lesser frigate birds, sooty falcon and olive bee-eater.’
      • ‘On the cliffs above the colonies, we encountered nests of the light-mantled sooty albatross; on the plateau, huge wandering albatross chicks sat like white, fluffy lighthouses.’
      • ‘Another virus managed to get transferred from a species of monkey called the sooty mangabey, and this is known as HIV - 2.’
      • ‘As the dinghy approaches the shores of North Avon Island, flocks of sooty and noddy terns swirl up and wheel above the dinghy, squawking loudly at our intrusion.’
      black, dark, pitch-dark, black as pitch
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