a severe reprimand; scolding.

Origin of dressing-down

1860–65, Americanism; noun use (with -ing1) of verb phrase dress down
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for dressing-down

reprimand, reproach, tongue-lashing, castigation, chiding, lambasting

Examples from the Web for dressing-down

Historical Examples of dressing-down

  • "Deeper'n the Whale-deep," said Dan, with a wink, as he set the gear for dressing-down.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • That fellow I gave a dressing-down about India to up at the Pratts' there.

    A Crooked Mile

    Oliver Onions

  • She must doff all gloves and give the little Doctor the dressing-down of his life.


    Henry Sydnor Harrison

  • And because he's given the priest a dressing-down, and broken an image worth a nickel, must he be shut up in a mad-house?

    The Quest

    Frederik van Eeden

  • Coming out again, the grim and forbidding doctor ordered Jimmie into his car, and oh, what a dressing-down he did give him!

    Jimmie Higgins

    Upton Sinclair

British Dictionary definitions for dressing-down



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