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[dres-ing-doun] /ˈdrɛs ɪŋˈdaʊn/
a severe reprimand; scolding.
Origin of dressing-down
1860-65, Americanism; noun use (with -ing1) of verb phrase dress down Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dressing-down
Historical Examples
  • "Deeper'n the Whale-deep," said Dan, with a wink, as he set the gear for dressing-down.

    "Captains Courageous" Rudyard Kipling
  • That fellow I gave a dressing-down about India to up at the Pratts' there.

    A Crooked Mile Oliver Onions
  • She must doff all gloves and give the little Doctor the dressing-down of his life.

    Queed Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • And because he's given the priest a dressing-down, and broken an image worth a nickel, must he be shut up in a mad-house?

    The Quest Frederik van Eeden
  • Coming out again, the grim and forbidding doctor ordered Jimmie into his car, and oh, what a dressing-down he did give him!

    Jimmie Higgins Upton Sinclair
  • Furthermore, she had given Mike the Angel a dressing-down that had been quite impressive.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Perhaps you gave her such a dressing-down, Billie, that shes turned over a new leaf.

    The Motor Maids' School Days Katherine Stokes
  • Ibbetson's wife gave him a dressing-down at tea-time for dragging Ibbetson into the row.

    Brother Copas

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Perhaps it was Roy's dressing-down of that youth that prompted Tom to be more decent to him than usual.

    Left Guard Gilbert Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for dressing-down


(informal) a severe scolding or thrashing
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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