dress up


Definition of dress up 

transitive verb

1 : to make more attractive, glamorous, or fancy dress up a plain dessert with a rich chocolate sauce

2a : to attire in best or formal clothes

b : to attire in clothes suited to a particular role

3 : to present in the most attractive or impressive light a fiasco dressed up as a triumph

intransitive verb

: to get dressed up

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Synonyms & Antonyms for dress up


camouflage, cloak, disguise, mask



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Examples of dress up in a Sentence

we always like to dress up when going to parties the war was a fiasco that the administration tried to dress up as a triumph

Recent Examples on the Web

The two have all but confirmed their relationship, having been spotted meeting the Pope, vacationing in Japan, and dressing up like Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton together. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom Step Out on London Date: See the New Photo," 13 July 2018 Goulart posted a pic of the duo all dressed up at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, "Former Victoria’s Secret Angel Izabel Goulart Is Engaged to German Soccer Player Kevin Trapp," 5 July 2018 The celebration included gun and cannon salutes, music, drinking, a parade, fireworks, and dressing up ships in the harbor in red, white and blue. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "How Americans have celebrated Fourth of July through the ages," 3 July 2018 Grab your friends for a team of four, choose your favorite nonmotorized transportation, dress up with a theme and get ready to race. Geoff Bruce, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From Lake Country to the North Shore, here are 26 fun ways to spend the middle of your summer," 26 June 2018 In the middle of all this revolution there was like these three year brackets of people just going bananas and dressing up like girls. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "Jonathan Rhys Meyers Has Only Seen Velvet Goldmine Once," 20 June 2018 During protests against Trump’s travel ban, Ivanka posted on Instagram a picture of herself and Jared dressed up to go to a party. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Ivanka Trump speaks out on family separation — after her father said he’d stop it," 20 June 2018 Smith had spent much of the previous year or so dressing up the company. Reeves Wiedeman, Daily Intelligencer, "A Company Built on a Bluff," 10 June 2018 On the day of the shoot, the teens went over to a local Taco Bell all dressed up in their long, formal gowns, full hair and makeup, and an empty stomach. Eileen Reslen, Seventeen, "This Teen Couple Took Their Prom Pictures at a Taco Bell and the Internet Is Here For It," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dress up.' 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 up

circa 1513, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

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Learn More about dress up

Dictionary Entries near dress up

dress suit

dress the part

dress uniform

dress up




Statistics for dress up

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for dress up

The first known use of dress up was circa 1513

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Comments on dress up

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required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

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