or tit·ti·vate


verb (used with object), tit·i·vat·ed, tit·i·vat·ing.

to make smart or spruce: She titivated her old dress with a new belt.

verb (used without object), tit·i·vat·ed, tit·i·vat·ing.

to make oneself smart or spruce.

Origin of titivate

1795–1805; earlier tidivate (tidy + (ele)vate; i.e., tidy up)
Related formstit·i·va·tion, nountit·i·va·tor, noun



verb (used with object), tit·i·vat·ed, tit·i·vat·ing.

Origin of titivate

First recorded in 1910–15; by erroneous association
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for titivate

Historical Examples of titivate

  • You titivate yourself, and we'll dine at the Savoy, or anywhere you please.

  • I'll give them half an hour's study whilst you wash up the tea things and titivate.

    Mrs. Warren's Daughter

    Sir Harry Johnston

  • They said that when he saw the shearers coming he'd say, "Run and titivate yourself, Mary; here comes the shearers!"

  • Gravely and calmly he draws brushes and so on from a receptacle under the box-seat, and commences to titivate himself.

  • Let me go down and settle whilst you call in your black man and titivate a bit.

    The Virginians

    William Makepeace Thackeray

British Dictionary definitions for titivate




to smarten up (oneself or another), as by making up, doing the hair, etc
(tr) to smarten up (a thing)to titivate a restaurant
Derived Formstitivation or tittivation, nountitivator or tittivator, noun

Word Origin for titivate

C19: earlier tidivate, perhaps based on tidy and cultivate
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 titivate

1805, perhaps from tidy with a quasi-Latin ending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper