dress down


Definition of dress down 

transitive verb

: to reprove severely

intransitive verb

: to dress casually especially for reasons of fashion

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of dress down in a Sentence

dressed down for boorish behavior at the dance

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of designers issuing seasonal laws, the power has shifted to the people, who are dressing up or dressing down, but most importantly dressing for themselves. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Top 10 Accessories Trends of Spring 2019," 16 Oct. 2018 Mudroom or playroom-ready lockers from Mustard in fun colors make dressing down or clearing up a quick process. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, "Go Inside The London Design Festival, AKA Fashion Week For Decor Addicts," 2 Oct. 2018 The passion for fairness and justice extended to our own military: When a private was poorly equipped, John enjoyed nothing more than dressing down an admiral or general. Caroline Houck, Vox, "George W. Bush honors McCain as “unwavering, undimmed, unequal”," 1 Sep. 2018 The passion for fairness and justice extended to our own military when a private was poorly seaman was overworked in terrible conditions, John enjoyed nothing more than dressing down an admiral or a general. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of George W. Bush's Eulogy for John McCain," 1 Sep. 2018 After days of being dressed down by the judge overseeing the Paul Manafort case, federal prosecutors sought Thursday to put their foot down -- filing a motion complaining that Judge T.S. Ellis III had unfairly admonished them in front of the jury. Peter Doocy, Fox News, "Mueller team files complaint against Manafort trial judge over latest reprimand," 9 Aug. 2018 Normcore An April article in the New York Times highlighted fashion's fixation on dressing down and heralded its name to the masses as #normcore. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Year in Terminology: 2014," 5 Dec. 2014 Bespoke suiting soon expanded to custom denim, due to a West Coast clientele that wanted versatile ways to dress down their suiting pieces. Catie Nienaber, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kipper Clothiers finds the perfect fit with LGBTQ audience," 31 May 2018 But the State Department’s Thursday dressing down is unlikely to upset relations between the two countries, political analysts and diplomats say. James Hookway, WSJ, "U.S. Criticizes Ally Vietnam Over Lengthy Prison Terms for Dissidents," 5 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of dress down

1852, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dress down

Share dress down

Statistics for dress down

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dress down

The first known use of dress down was in 1852

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on dress down

See words that rhyme with dress down

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dress down

Comments on dress down

What made you want to look up dress down? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!