\ ˈdres How to pronounce dress (audio) \
dressed; dressing; dresses

Definition of dress

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to make or set straight
b : to arrange (troops, equipment, etc.) in a straight line and at proper intervals
2 : to prepare for use or service specifically : to prepare for cooking or for the table dress a salad
3 : to add decorative details or accessories to : embellish
4a : to put clothes on dress a child
b : to provide with clothing feed and dress a growing family
5 archaic : dress down
6a : to apply dressings or medicaments to dress a wound
b(1) : to arrange (the hair) by combing, brushing, or curling
(2) : to groom and curry (an animal)
c : to kill and prepare for market or for consumption often used with out
d : cultivate, tend especially : to apply manure or fertilizer to dress a field
e : to put through a finishing process especially : to trim and smooth the surface of (a material, such as lumber or stone)

intransitive verb

1a : to put on clothing
b : to put on or wear formal, elaborate, or fancy clothes dress for dinner
2 of a food animal : to weigh after being dressed often used with out
3 : to align oneself with the next soldier in a line to make the line straight
dress ship
: to ornament a ship for a celebration by hoisting national ensigns at the mastheads and running a line of signal flags and pennants from bow to stern



Definition of dress (Entry 2 of 3)

2 : an outer garment (as for a woman or girl) usually consisting of a one-piece bodice and skirt
3 : covering, adornment, or appearance appropriate or peculiar to a particular time
4 : a particular form of presentation : guise



Definition of dress (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : suitable for a formal occasion dress clothes dress shoes
2 : requiring or permitting formal dress a dress affair
3 : relating to or used for a dress dress material

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Synonyms & Antonyms for dress

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of dress in a Sentence

Verb They dressed themselves in a hurry. He dressed the child in a snowsuit. She showered, dressed, and ate breakfast. She dressed warmly for skiing. She is dressing for the opera. They always dress for dinner. The nurse dressed the cut on my knee. Noun She wore dresses only on special occasions. She wore a short black dress to the party. Her wedding dress was decorated with lace. The guests were clothed in traditional Indian dress. It is wise to wear conservative dress to an interview. Adjective I wore dress pants and a nice sweater. the naval commander wore his dress uniform to the ball
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb They're often hosted by brands and companies that buy tables for thousands more and are accompanied by top designers who dress them. Leanne Italie, ajc, 13 Sep. 2021 Lynch chose designer Christopher Quarterman from Lexington, Kentucky to dress him at the 2021 Met Gala. Heather R Morgan, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 The crisp was a new angle for me — a way to appreciate the fruits undisguised, in their blushing, powerfully sweet prime, but also dress them up with texture and spice. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2021 Wear them casually during the day to get through airport security quickly or dress them up for an evening out. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Aug. 2021 To dress it up, swap out your sneakers for heeled sandals and add statement earrings and a clutch. Eden Lichterman, PEOPLE.com, 6 Aug. 2021 Finding a designer to dress me is proving to be a task of Herculean proportions, each decline feeling like a death knell. Louis Pisano, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 July 2021 While many come to the restaurant to choose from among its many burger options, patrons can also order a regular hot dog or dress it up with chili and cheese. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, 20 July 2021 In this episode, taking place almost entirely at Ganesh puja, Devi begrudgingly lets Kamala wrap a sari around her and dress her up for the festivities. Abby Govindan, Vulture, 15 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Saysh One was actually inspired by a wrap dress, which is also reminiscent of Allyson’s place of work, similar to the lines that denote a running track. Olivia Perez, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 One woman gave Bieber her Victrola, her wedding dress, and a $200 check. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Sep. 2021 The daughter of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour attended the 2021 Met Gala in New York City Monday, smiling in a flowing, seafoam green dress. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 13 Sep. 2021 Chloé tweed dress, $2,195; Cartier Panthère ring in gold, tsavorite and onyx, $6,750; Foundrae gold rings, $700 each (worn throughout). Alex Badia, Robb Report, 12 Sep. 2021 Dior dress and boots; Cartier necklace and earrings. Lola Ogunnaike, Marie Claire, 12 Sep. 2021 Ya girl was positively dripping in lace, in a totally sheer, floor-length dress from the designer himself. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, 10 Sep. 2021 There’s also a reason the little black dress (or a long one, or a midi) is considered one of the ultimate wardrobe essentials. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 10 Sep. 2021 The show spends an exhaustive amount of time on the salacious elements of the Clinton affair—the dress, the gifts, the phone calls, the tapes—while neglecting the politics at play, and the roiling currents below the surface of the story. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's the case even if the job does not require dress clothes. Daniel B. Kline, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2017 Dress code controversies are nothing new, especially in the era of social media. Rafael Guerrero, chicagotribune.com, 29 Aug. 2017 Factor in alterations: Dress alterations can be costly, so talk to your salon about their policy in advance. Emily Valla, idahostatesman, 21 July 2017 Dress-code-busting aside, these are some excellent, just-DGAF-enough outfits. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, 13 July 2017 Dress code double standards not only can make summer unbearable but also serve to police people's gender expression. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, 23 June 2017 Dress Meets Body collection, which is set in a large funnel-like space with a video of Merce Cunningham’s dancers performing in the clothing by viewers’ feet. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 1 May 2017 Dress rehearsals are over and the Sky open their season Sunday on the road against the second-ranked Minnesota Lynx. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, 12 May 2017 Dress blues and elegant gowns were the order of the day, at the Windsor High School annual Air Force Junior ROTC Ball, on April 22. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, 5 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dress


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1745, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dress


Middle English, from Anglo-French drescer, dresser to direct, put right, from Vulgar Latin *directiare, from Latin directus direct, past participle of dirigere to direct, from dis- + regere to lead straight — more at right

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Time Traveler for dress

Time Traveler

The first known use of dress was in the 14th century

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Statistics for dress

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dress. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for dress



English Language Learners Definition of dress

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to put clothes on (yourself or someone else)
: to put clothes on yourself
: to put on or wear a particular type or style of clothes



English Language Learners Definition of dress (Entry 2 of 3)

: a piece of clothing for a woman or a girl that has a top part that covers the upper body and a skirt that hangs down to cover the legs
: a particular type of clothing



English Language Learners Definition of dress (Entry 3 of 3)

: suitable or required for a formal event


\ ˈdres How to pronounce dress (audio) \
dressed; dressing

Kids Definition of dress

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to put clothes on
2 : to put on clothes in a particular way Be sure to dress warmly.
3 : to wear formal or fancy clothes Do I have to dress for dinner?
4 : to apply medicine or bandages to dress a wound
5 : to trim or decorate for display dress a store window
6 : to prepare for cooking or eating dress a chicken dress the salad
dress up
1 : to put on formal or fancy clothes
2 : to put on a costume I'm dressing up as a skeleton.



Kids Definition of dress (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a piece of clothing for a woman or girl that has a top part that covers the upper body and that is connected to a skirt covering the lower body
2 : clothing He wore traditional dress.



Kids Definition of dress (Entry 3 of 3)

: proper for a formal event dress clothes


\ ˈdres How to pronounce dress (audio) \

Medical Definition of dress

: to apply dressings or medicaments to

More from Merriam-Webster on dress

Nglish: Translation of dress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dress for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dress


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