[verb uhn-der-dres; noun uhn-der-dres]
verb (used without object), un·der·dressed or un·der·drest, un·der·dress·ing.
  1. to clothe oneself less completely or formally than is usual or fitting for the circumstances.
  1. garments worn beneath others; underclothes.
  2. a slip, petticoat, or other underskirt, especially one designed to be seen when worn, as beneath a redingote.

Origin of underdress

First recorded in 1775–85; under- + dress
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underdressed

Contemporary Examples of underdressed

Historical Examples of underdressed

  • Was she, for instance, the underdressed one with the mole, or the rawboned giggler?

    It Never Can Happen Again

    William De Morgan

  • Remember this: it is always better to be underdressed than to be overdressed.

    Book of Etiquette, Volume 2

    Lillian Eichler Watson

  • Furthermore, he had a painful consciousness of being conspicuous among the underdressed men.

    Skinner's Dress Suit

    Henry Irving Dodge

British Dictionary definitions for underdressed


  1. wearing clothes that are not elaborate or formal enough for a particular occasion
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 underdressed

also under-dressed, "too plainly dressed," 1759, from under (adv.) + past participle of dress (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper