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[dap-er] /ˈdæp ər/
neat; trim; smart:
He looked very dapper in his new suit.
lively and brisk:
to walk with a dapper step.
small and active.
Origin of dapper
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English daper < Middle Dutch dapper nimble, stalwart; cognate with German tapfer brave
Related forms
dapperly, adverb
dapperness, noun
undapper, adjective
1. spruce, modish, jaunty, natty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dapper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He struck me as a dapper man, noticeably, but not offensively, self-satisfied.

  • They took in the dapper Britisher as if he had been a natural history specimen.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • Tarling was haggard and weary, in contrast to the dapper inspector of police.

    The Daffodil Mystery

    Edgar Wallace
  • The dapper little officer in khaki was Aguinaldo, and this is the story of how I saw him.

    Bamboo Tales Ira L. Reeves
  • On the contrary, he was smart and dapper, and looked like the light-weight horseman he is.


    John French, Viscount of Ypres
British Dictionary definitions for dapper


neat and spruce in dress and bearing; trim
small and nimble
Derived Forms
dapperly, adverb
dapperness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Dutch: active, nimble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dapper

mid-15c., "elegant," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German dapper "bold, strong, sturdy," later "quick, nimble," from Proto-Germanic *dapraz, perhaps with ironical shift of meaning (cf. Old High German tapfar "heavy," German tapfer "brave"), from PIE root *dheb- "dense, firm, compressed."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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