verb (used with object), dressed or drest, dress·ing.
- to prepare or bait (a fishhook) for use.
- to prepare (bait, especially an artificial fly) for use.
verb (used without object), dressed or drest, dress·ing.
- to reprimand; scold.
- to thrash; beat.
- to dress informally or less formally: to dress down for the shipboard luau.
- to put on one's best or fanciest clothing; dress relatively formally: They were dressed up for the Easter parade.
- to dress in costume or in another person's clothes: to dress up in Victorian clothing; to dress up as Marie Antoinette.
- to embellish or disguise, especially in order to make more appealing or acceptable: to dress up the facts with colorful details.
Origin of dress
Synonyms for dress
Related Words for dress downberate, carpet, castigate, censure, lash, rail, rebuke, reprimand, reprove, upbraid, ream, tongue-lash
- to change one's clothes
- to wear formal or evening clothes
Word Origin for dress
early 14c., "make straight; direct, guide, control, prepare for cooking," from Old French dresser, drecier "raise (oneself), address, prepare, lift, raise, hoist, set up, arrange, set (a table), serve (food), straighten, put right, direct," from Vulgar Latin *directiare, from Latin directus "direct, straight" (see direct (v.)).
Sense of "decorate, adorn" is late 14c., as is that of "put on clothing." Original sense survives in military meaning "align columns of troops." Dress up "attire elaborately" is from 1670s; dressing down "wearing clothes less formal than expected" is from 1960. To dress (someone) down (1769) is ironical. Related: Dressed; dressing.
c.1600, originally any clothing, especially that appropriate to rank or to some ceremony; sense of "woman's garment" is first recorded 1630s, with overtones of "made not merely to clothe but to adorn." Dress rehearsal first recorded 1828.
Scold, reprimand, as in The sergeant will dress down the entire unit. In the 15th century the verb dress alone was used in the sense of “punish,” down being added several centuries later. It also gave rise to the noun dressing down for punishment with blows or words. For example, The teacher gave the girls a severe dressing down.
Wear informal clothes, as in It's best to dress down for a party like a barbecue. [Mid-1900s] For the antonym, see dress up.