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


Informal. Usually dress-ups.
  1. a person's best clothes: Wear your dress-ups for the reception.
  2. 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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dress-up

Historical Examples of dress-up

  • Well then, when Miss Norris was going to dress-up, Cayley gave it away.

  • Arf of its only ousemaidin; and the other arf is dress-up and make-believe.

    Press Cuttings

    George Bernard Shaw

  • As a rule, young people love a “dress-up” party, and the guests all entered into the spirit of the thing.

    Patty's Friends

    Carolyn Wells

  • Dey tell me dat w'en slaves wus shipped to New Orleans dey had to be dress-up in nice clothes.

  • Her first contact with him in a well-lighted room made her aware that there were other things to the person besides the dress-up.

    Hungry Hearts

    Anzia Yezierska