[ dres-doun ]
See synonyms for dress-down on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to or being a policy that allows employees to dress less formally than usual: dress-down days during the summer.

Origin of dress-down

First recorded in 1950–55

Words Nearby dress-down

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dress-down in a sentence

  • She stopped presently, and drew the lace night dress down a bit.

    The Forged Note | Oscar Micheaux
  • Dress down the remaining rough face to or near both gauge lines just drawn, and test with straight edge, as in the working face.

    Carpentry and Woodwork | Edwin W. Foster

British Dictionary definitions for dress down

dress down

  1. (tr) informal to reprimand severely or scold (a person)

  2. (intr) to dress in a casual or informal manner, esp at work

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-down


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.

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