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

Her husband, 31, dressed up in a white blazer over a white collared shirt with black pants and a matching watch. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Supergirl's Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood Make First Red Carpet Appearance as Newlyweds," 14 Sep. 2019 Cher Horowitz Costume, Clueless Go mad for plaid this Halloween and dress up as the queen bee of the '90s, Cher Horowitz, from the movie Clueless. Laurren Welch, Country Living, "10 Best Movie Costume Ideas for a Star-Studded Halloween," 9 Sep. 2019 In the course of her career, Dodd has dressed up dining tables, launched a viral footwear trend, and put a new twist on taxidermy. Anchorage Daily News, "MAKING IT: This Alaska artist’s career has been a series of leaps of faith," 6 Sep. 2019 Collinsworth, Michaels, and sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya were all dressed up as sportswriters from the 1920s. Charlotte Wilder, SI.com, "We Didn't Get A Collinsworth Slide, But TNF Did Give Us Throwback Costumes," 6 Sep. 2019 For one of his more regular acting jobs, Muir dresses up in chain mail and leather as Sir William Wallace, recounting to tourists how the 13th century Scottish independence hero defeated English invaders in the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge. Washington Post, "Brexit breathes life back into Scottish independence push," 4 Sep. 2019 Classic uniforms from Wendy’s and McDonald’s dress up mannequins. Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "Time is running out to take a bite out of Miami’s burger museum," 3 Sep. 2019 From bright lemon to deeper tones such as mustard, yellow is both versatile and a color that can be dressed up or down when staging and styling a space. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "8 tips for brightening your home with yellow," 11 June 2019 For a playful couple's costume, have your partner dress up like the hot package delivery guy. Caylin Harris, Country Living, "The Best 'Legally Blonde' Costumes to Bend and Snap In This Halloween," 6 Sep. 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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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 2019

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Time Traveler for dress up

The first known use of dress up was circa 1513

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