\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Charbonnet, who appeared slightly hobbled after the game Saturday, and Harden, who did not dress for the game, both participated in the portion of practice open to reporters. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2022 Nebraska left tackle Teddy Prochaska didn't dress because of a shoulder injury and is out for the season, Joseph said. Eric Olson, ajc, 17 Sep. 2022 Rudolph — who is 8-5 as a starter — will be inactive after Tomlin said the team will not dress a third quarterback. Will Graves, Chicago Tribune, 6 Sep. 2022 True freshman Ja’Cari Henderson, who was listed on the team’s initial depth chart as a backup cornerback behind Davonte Brown, did not dress for the game. Jason Beede, Orlando Sentinel, 4 Sep. 2022 The Dolphins listed Tagovailoa among 17 players that won’t dress for the exhibition, announced 90 minutes before kickoff at Raymond James Stadium. David Furones, Sun Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2022 Montgomery doesn’t just dress her vampires in the flowing white shirts and high collars viewers might expect. Karen Idelson, Variety, 17 June 2022 Players who don't dress will earn a fee that is the equivalent of participating in a national team training camp. CBS News, 18 May 2022 McGrew loves to dress herself (and her kids) up for Halloween. Staff Author Published, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dressed in a sleek, knee-length black dress with tights and black leather boots, the 40-year-old superstar performed a piano rendition of the track’s first verse, before her full band and backup singer joined her for the euphoric chorus. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 26 Sep. 2022 At The Redeem Team’s premiere in Hollywood, Gabrielle Union also shined in a Valentino look that had a golden mini dress with the coat to match. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 25 Sep. 2022 Runners should improve their technique, as well as dress appropriately with lightweight clothing and running shoes. Liam Gravvat, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2022 For the occasion, Queen Letizia looked sophisticated in a black belted pencil dress with buttons on the shoulders by Carolina Herrera. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Sep. 2022 One woman wore what appeared to be an evening dress with pearls. William Booth, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 The singer looked fierce in a body hugging, red midi dress with cut outs and pink heels. Chaise Sanders, Country Living, 16 Sep. 2022 Sharing a moment from inside the hallway of their railroad car, Deborah showed off a flowing maxi dress with a plunging neckline. Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 14 Sep. 2022 Gently rake the grass seed in with a leaf rake and lightly top dress with compost or a commercial seed accelerator. Tim Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's the case even if the job does not require dress clothes. Daniel B. Kline, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2017 Dress code controversies are nothing new, especially in the era of social media. Rafael Guerrero, chicagotribune.com, 29 Aug. 2017 Factor in alterations: Dress alterations can be costly, so talk to your salon about their policy in advance. Emily Valla, idahostatesman, 21 July 2017 Dress-code-busting aside, these are some excellent, just-DGAF-enough outfits. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, 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, 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, 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, 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, 5 May 2017 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of dress was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near dress

Dresden china



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Statistics for dress

Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dress. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for dress


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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