[ dres-uhp ]

  1. being an occasion, situation, etc., for which one must be somewhat formally well-dressed: the first dress-up dance of the season.

  1. Informal.Usually dress-ups.

    • a person's best clothes: Wear your dress-ups for the reception.

    • accessories or other added features: a car with custom dress-ups.

Origin of dress-up

First recorded in 1665–75; noun, adj. use of verb phrase dress up

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use dress-up in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dress up

dress up

  1. to attire (oneself or another) in one's best clothes

  2. to put fancy dress, disguise, etc, on (oneself or another), as in children's games: let's dress up as ghosts!

  1. (tr) to improve the appearance or impression of: it's no good trying to dress up the facts

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with dress-up


Wear formal or elaborate clothes, as in I love to dress up for a party. [Late 1600s] For the antonym, see dress down, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.