\ 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 Since it's been so mild this winter, this will be a major shock to the senses, so dress warm and protect your skin from frostbite. Max Golembo, ABC News, "Coldest air of the season is moving into the Midwest and the Northeast," 13 Feb. 2020 By the time Dwyer's crew arrived to the scene, he was dressed and prepared to initiate a primary search. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "Firefighter ordered suspended without pay after trying to rescue an elderly woman from a fire," 12 Feb. 2020 The Warmest Snowsuit Ensure your little snow bunny dresses the part with this one-piece snowsuit. Jessica Mordo, Sunset Magazine, "Score Winter Outerwear Half-Off in Patagonia’s Huge President’s Day Sale," 12 Feb. 2020 Gurung feels attuned to white as statement dressing for fall, especially with another presidential election on the horizon. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, "NYFW: Prabal Gurung Puts A-Listers in Empire State of Mind During This "Divisive Time"," 12 Feb. 2020 The October 2019 cover of Harper’s Bazaar featured Demi Moore dressed in Victorian schoolmarm wear, replete with knotted collar and wire-rimmed glasses. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 When they are attached to a treble hook and dressed into a lure, they are designed to catch fish. Matthew Every, Outdoor Life, "Weird, Off-Beat, and Cool Guns and Gear from SHOT Show 2020," 11 Feb. 2020 Its shares are up 50% since an IPO in December A DOZEN WOMEN dressed in saris sit on benches at the branch of the Ujjivan Small Finance Bank on Koramangala 80 Feet Road, awaiting disbursements of tiny loans. The Economist, "Small change Ujjivan is a rare bright spot in Indian finance," 6 Feb. 2020 The four-year-old is dressed in a tutu and plastic high heels, and the sound of her casual, high-pitched banter causes my heart to squeeze. Allison Pataki, Glamour, "Being ‘Selfish’ Makes Me a Better Mom," 5 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the brand nears its 80th anniversary, Vevers put those stripes on steroids, in men’s and women’s separates, a pair of shirt-dresses with contrasting pockets and a few more of those standout coats. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, "NYFW: Michael B. Jordan Watches Coach Show Inspired by Debbie Harry and Basquiat," 12 Feb. 2020 And these sectors of the population have repeatedly raised fears of Westernization threatening local language, dress styles, food and cultural traditions. Alainna Liloia, The Conversation, "Women in Arab countries find themselves torn between opportunity and tradition," 11 Feb. 2020 Hutton didn’t dress for Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks due to an off-ice personal issue, so Jonas Johansson made the start. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres odds, picks and best bets," 11 Feb. 2020 The 21st-century versions of sarumawashi range from monkeys turning backflips in frilly dresses at street festivals to Nikko Saru Gundan’s primate pupils pretending to do math calculations and playing the piano in videos posted to YouTube. National Geographic, "Circus-like performances by snow monkeys in Japan contradict their long-revered status," 8 Feb. 2020 The remains were laid out in best dress finery, SWNS reports, with archaeolgists also finding six buttons nearby that led them to believe the skeleton belongs to a Royal Navy sailor who perished around 1760. Fox News, "Skeleton unearthed on tiny island may be 18th-century Royal Navy sailor," 7 Feb. 2020 He was last seen wearing a gold T-shirt, gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and brown dress shoes. Logan Mcelroy, Dallas News, "75-year-old man missing from east Oak Cliff may need assistance, Dallas police say," 29 Jan. 2020 Maître d’hotel Charles Martin, known for his gold lamé tuxedo jacket, strictly enforced a dress code of jackets for men and dress shoes for women. Candacy Taylor, Condé Nast Traveler, "Retracing the ‘Green Book’ and the Evolving Story of Black Travel," 7 Jan. 2020 Unlike many early years classrooms, most Montessori classrooms do not have dress-up corners, Legos, or an abundance of circle time. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "The Montessori schools embracing kid-tracking devices," 3 Jan. 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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dressed. Accessed 17 Feb. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on dress

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dress

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dress

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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