\ 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 Shower, get dressed, and maybe even wear bright clothing. Anchorage Daily News, "Rhythm, routine, and rituals: How to protect your mental health while self-isolating," 19 May 2020 New York to Florida The company’s fleet includes more than 20 private jets including two Gulfstream G200 planes dressed with leather seating, wood panels and golden cup holders, according to its website. Ryan Beene, Bloomberg.com, "Luxury Jets in Florida, Sea Planes in Alaska Get Virus Aid," 13 May 2020 The pictures show Charlotte, dressed in grey tights and a checkered smock dress with floppy epaulets, carrying bags of groceries, placing them in boxes and standing at someone's door ready to deliver. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Happy 5th birthday, Princess Charlotte! Palace releases new photos of Will and Kate's daughter," 1 May 2020 Now is also a really good time to work out how to start dressing with a buzzcut. Jacqueline Kilikita, refinery29.com, "Why I Decided To Shave My Head During Self-Quarantine," 16 Apr. 2020 The nachos feature freshly cooked potato chips dressed with a tomato salsa and a scoop of hummus. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "How do we support restaurant workers during a pandemic?," 16 Mar. 2020 The anglers fished upriver pre-spawn areas near spawning flats and creeks, throwing Choo-Choo Lures swimjigs, dressed with a 4-inch soft plastic Rage Menace tail from Strike King for their biggest fish. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: What’s working on Alabama lakes?," 28 Feb. 2020 Ephrat Livni The line outside the US Supreme Court this morning was long and the crowd sportily dressed, with many prospective audience members in fleece vests under suits and all wearing sensible walking shoes. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The US Supreme Court gets metaphysical in Appalachian Trail pipeline fight," 24 Feb. 2020 Then Isaiah Livers walked onto the court, dressed in grey sweats with a boot on his right foot. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball makes statement with win at Rutgers," 20 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tye, 18, had found the perfect dress, purchased tickets and made reservations by the time the virus hit North Texas and forced schools to close and cancel extracurricular activities. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Rather than miss the prom, Frisco senior had hers at home during the coronavirus pandemic," 19 May 2020 Shopbop has contemporary apparel — dresses, casual tops and sneakers — and designer label bags and jewelry on sale. oregonlive, "Memorial Day weekend must-haves on sale: What you need for the predicted sunny holiday," 18 May 2020 Shop sweaters, summer-ready dresses, denim (yes, jeans can be comfortable), and more at 25% off. Glamour, "Verishop’s Early Summer Sale Will Instantly Upgrade Your WFH Wardrobe," 13 May 2020 Showing them pictures of Dad’s high school haircut, Mom posing in a poofy prom dress, or their own toddler pics can lead to a hilarious evening of coming up with the best meme for each pic. National Geographic, "Screen time alternatives," 12 May 2020 The teen, who documented the event on her YouTube channel, put on a dress, did her makeup and even helped Jake into a tuxedo. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "When her school canceled prom, this girl held one at home and took her brother as her date," 3 May 2020 The dress: light green, high-necked, conservatively cut. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 16 Apr. 2020 Jennifer Clymer, Channel 22’s supervisor, tries on a prom dress to amuse MPTF residents - one of the channel’s engagement activities. Los Angeles Times, "In coronavirus isolation, these showbiz seniors tune in to their own TV channel to stay connected," 10 Apr. 2020 The shirts, dresses, outerwear, and accessories Bertash sells are designed to trigger those readers and fill them up with junk data. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Some shirts hide you from cameras—but will anyone wear them?," 10 Apr. 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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dress. Accessed 31 May. 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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