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  1. neat; trim; smart: He looked very dapper in his new suit.
  2. lively and brisk: to walk with a dapper step.
  3. small and active.
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Origin of dapper

1400–50; late Middle English daper < Middle Dutch dapper nimble, stalwart; cognate with German tapfer brave
Related formsdap·per·ly, adverbdap·per·ness, nounun·dap·per, adjective

Synonyms for dapper

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dapper

rakish, stylish, dashing, spry, classy, brisk, chic, chichi, clean, dainty, jaunty, natty, nice, nifty, nimble, posh, prim, ritzy, sassy, sharp

Examples from the Web for dapper

Contemporary Examples of dapper

Historical Examples of dapper

  • 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 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


  1. neat and spruce in dress and bearing; trim
  2. small and nimble
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Derived Formsdapperly, adverbdapperness, noun

Word Origin for dapper

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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper