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gussy

[guhs-ee]Informal.
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verb (used with object), gus·sied, gus·sy·ing.
  1. to enhance the attractiveness of in a gimmicky, showy manner (usually followed by up): a room gussied up with mirrors and lights.
verb (used without object), gus·sied, gus·sy·ing.
  1. to dress in one's best clothes (usually followed by up): to gussy up for the ball.

Origin of gussy

First recorded in 1935–40; of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for gussy up

gussy up

verb -sies, -sying or -sied (tr, adverb)
  1. slang, mainly US to give (a person or thing) a smarter or more interesting appearance

Word Origin

C20: probably from the name Gussie, diminutive of Augusta
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

Word Origin and History for gussy up

gussy

v.

"to dress up or decorate in a showy way," 1952, American English slang, apparently from Gussy (1940), schoolyard slang name for an overly dressed person, perhaps related to gussie (1901) "effeminate man," and somehow connected to the nickname for Augusta and Augustus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper