[ dres-ing-doun ]
/ ˈdrɛs ɪŋˈdaʊn /


a severe reprimand; scolding.

Nearby words

  1. dressing gown,
  2. dressing room,
  3. dressing sack,
  4. dressing station,
  5. dressing table,
  6. dressing-up,
  7. dressings,
  8. dressler,
  9. dressler beat,
  10. dressler, marie

Origin of dressing-down

1860–65, Americanism; noun use (with -ing1) of verb phrase dress down

Origin of dress

1275–1325; Middle English dressen < Anglo-French dresser, dresc(i)er, to arrange, prepare, Old French drecier < Vulgar Latin *dīrēctiāre, derivative of Latin dīrēctus direct; noun use of v. in sense “attire” from circa 1600

1. frock. 2. raiment, attire, clothes, habit, garments, vestments, habiliments. 9. clothe, robe, garb.

Related formshalf-dressed, adjectiveout·dress, verb (used with object)

Synonym study

1. Dress, costume, gown refer to garments for women. Dress is the general term for a garment: a black dress. Costume is used of the style of dress appropriate to some occasion, purpose, period, or character, especially as used on the stage, at balls, at court, or the like, and may apply to men's garments as well: an 18th-century costume. Gown is usually applied to a dress more expensive and elegant than the ordinary, usually long, to be worn on a special occasion: a wedding gown.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for dressing down


/ (drɛs) /



Word Origin for dress

C14: from Old French drecier, ultimately from Latin dīrigere to direct



informal a severe scolding or thrashing
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 dressing down
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for dressing down


[ drĕs ]


To apply medication, bandages, or other therapeutic materials to an area of the body such as a wound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.