\ 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 In the city commission's virtual meeting on Wednesday, Davis said the law was originally created with the intent to encourage young individuals -- specifically young Black males and males in general -- to dress to certain standards in the community. Kelsie Smith, CNN, "For 13 years, this city banned saggy pants. Now, officials have voted to repeal the law," 11 Sep. 2020 Stop motion takes place on a set, and animators typically collaborate in the studio with colleagues who build, dress and film the puppets. oregonlive, "Portland filmmakers scramble to shoot movies, TV and commercials during pandemic," 9 Sep. 2020 With the 2020 postseason occurring in hub cities amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league limited rosters to 31 players, 20 who dress for games. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Game 7 heroics, lots of poker and little-glory support: The life of Stars' black aces in quarantined playoffs," 9 Sep. 2020 That’s just early enough to shower, dress and feed her 3½-year-old son, Aidan. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, "Portraits from the pandemic’s front lines," 7 Sep. 2020 Bring a mask to wear, dress for the outdoors and practice your social distancing skills. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Learn the ins and outs of planting trees and tap into your family roots: Valley Views," 7 Sep. 2020 Compare that to The Birthday Party Project, whose annual fundraising gala involves creative costumes: dress as your favorite toy or a night at the movies—whatever the theme suggests. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, "How nonprofits are catering to millennials and rethinking the charity gala for younger generations," 7 Sep. 2020 During her second singles match against Margarita Gasparya on Thursday, September 3, Williams wore a gray Nike dress with a matching gray scrunchie. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Serena Williams Matched Her Hair Scrunchie to Her Tennis Outfit at the U.S. Open," 6 Sep. 2020 The public is invited to dress as farm workers, Hawaiian managers, or police officers and bring signs to participate in the strike. courant.com, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 4 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After postponing her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi once, Princess Beatrice decided to go ahead with a much more low-key ceremony in July, right down to the secondhand wedding dress. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "The Ultimate Royal Wedding Moments, as Chosen by PEOPLE Staff," 11 Sep. 2020 Photographed in New York City on Friday, Shayk rocked the perfect mini dress. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk Steps Out in a Cobalt Blue Mini Dress with a Zipper Down the Front," 5 Sep. 2020 So when and where did the white wedding dress originate? Marlise Schoeny, The Conversation, "Why do brides wear white?," 4 Sep. 2020 The statement dress isn’t the only Balenciaga look that will feature within the film. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Tilda Swinton and Pedro Almodóvar Tease Their New Film With a Little Help From Balenciaga," 28 Aug. 2020 Playing when the girls head inside the bar after getting caught with the dress. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The "Trinkets" Season 2 Soundtrack is Your New Favorite Playlist," 27 Aug. 2020 Police also found a picture of a bride standing between two men in the box with the dress. Fox News, "Police seek owner of lost wedding dress in Arizona," 15 Aug. 2020 Marshall exchanges the original dress’s neon green details at the waist for a less acidic grass green. Washington Post, "Kerry James Marshall paints a masterful image of history and hope on the cover of Vogue," 14 Aug. 2020 But the most realistic explanation is that the dress has been in the works for a while. Jean Bentley, refinery29.com, "How Selling Sunset Season 3 Warps Time & Space, Episode By Episode," 8 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's the case even if the job does not require dress clothes. Daniel B. Kline, USA TODAY, "7 ways to improve your chances of getting hired," 31 Aug. 2017 Dress code controversies are nothing new, especially in the era of social media. Rafael Guerrero, chicagotribune.com, "Students question dress codes in District U46," 29 Aug. 2017 Factor in alterations: Dress alterations can be costly, so talk to your salon about their policy in advance. Emily Valla, idahostatesman, "Brides beware: Shop for gowns wisely after company files bankruptcy," 21 July 2017 Dress-code-busting aside, these are some excellent, just-DGAF-enough outfits. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "2017 ESPY Awards: Every Well-Dressed Athlete You Need to See," 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, "These Teenage Boys Wore Skirts to School to Protest Dress Code Double Standards," 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, "Chief Curator Andrew Bolton Takes Us Inside the Costume Institute's Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between Exhibit," 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, "Sky's stock low, but players high on coach Amber Stocks," 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, "Annual Junior ROTC Ball Held," 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

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dress. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for dress


How to pronounce dress (audio)

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

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