plural noun Informal.

clothes, especially a suit of clothes.
belongings in general.

Origin of duds

1275–1325; Middle English dudde; perhaps akin to Low German dudel coarse sackcloth




a device, person, or enterprise that proves to be a failure.
a shell or missile that fails to explode after being fired.

Origin of dud

1815–25; special use of dud, singular of duds

Synonyms for dud

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

Examples from the Web for duds

Contemporary Examples of duds

Historical Examples of duds

  • But you ought to get warm and dry right off, I s'pose, and your duds are all up to the depot.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I built a fire in the rusty cook stove and dried his duds and mine.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • That evenin' I found her on the back steps, all Sunday duds and airs.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • In it the farmers kept, says one church record, "their duds and horses."

  • Just go upstairs and put on your duds, like the dear thing you are, and get the next train.

    In Apple-Blossom Time

    Clara Louise Burnham

British Dictionary definitions for duds



a person or thing that proves ineffectual or a failure
a shell, etc, that fails to explode
(plural) old-fashioned clothes or other personal belongings


failing in its purpose or functiona dud cheque

Word Origin for dud

C15 (in the sense: an article of clothing, a thing, used disparagingly): of unknown origin
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 duds

c.1300, dudde "cloak, mantle," later in plural, "ragged clothing" (1560s), of uncertain origin.



c.1825, "person in ragged clothing," from duds (q.v.). Sense extended by 1897 to "counterfeit thing," and 1908 to "useless, inefficient person or thing." This led naturally in World War I to "shell which fails to explode," and thence to "expensive failure."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper