dress up

dressed up; dressing up; dresses 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 for dress up


doll up, dress

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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

Farage referenced Harry dressing up in a Nazi uniform and his military tours in Afghanistan. Washington Post, "In leaked remarks, Nigel Farage slams Harry and Meghan, Prince Charles for climate change concern," 10 Aug. 2019 Centennial 38, the Rapids supporter group, chanted about the plague and some dressed up in costumes. Jake Shapiro, The Denver Post, "Colorado Rapids fans embrace plague with costumes, chants," 3 Aug. 2019 Morgan Hurd is such an inspiration for young American gymnasts — and anyone who wears eyeglasses and practices sports — that some have dressed up in leotards and her trademark glasses for Halloween. Luis Andres Henao, chicagotribune.com, "Morgan Hurd inspires other young gymnasts to wear eyeglasses," 28 July 2019 Every year, restaurants and bars in San Diego dress up their dishes and drinks with a Comic-Con-themed flair. San Diego Union-Tribune, "12 things to do in San Diego this weekend: Comic-Con, Ziggy Marley, Insect Festival," 19 July 2019 Their younger sibling, baby Adrienne, sported a pumpkin get-up—and Madeleine, not to let the kids have all the fun, dressed up as a cat. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Leonore Just Turned 5, and the Swedish Royal Family Celebrated by Sharing a Sweet New Photo," 21 Feb. 2019 Others, like the players from the University of Oklahoma, dressed up their simple team polos with Michael Kors watches or gold and silver necklaces. Lynda Gonzalez, Dallas News, "Off the field, these athletes flaunt a strong accessory game," 20 July 2019 At the 2019 Met Gala, Katy Perry dressed up for the after-party in a full-on hamburger costume. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Your Guide to the References in Taylor Swift's 'You Need to Calm Down' Music Video," 17 June 2019 Show Your Pride with Your #OOTD There are so many different ways to show your pride and that includes getting dressed up in an outfit that shows off your 🔥 personality. Seventeen, "How to Prep For Your First Pride Parade," 14 June 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near dress up

dress suit

dress the part

dress uniform

dress up




Statistics for dress up

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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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

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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