window dressing


Definition of window dressing

1 : the display of merchandise in a retail store window
2a : the act or an instance of making something appear deceptively attractive or favorable
b : something used to create a deceptively favorable or attractive impression

Other Words from window dressing

window-dress \ ˈwin-​dō-​ˌdres How to pronounce window dressing (audio) \ transitive verb
window dresser noun

Synonyms for window dressing


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of window dressing in a Sentence

These changes are being made for a good reason. They're not just window dressing. the crime-does-not-pay moralizing is just window dressing for nasty hard-boiled stories
Recent Examples on the Web Despite the window dressing, there’s nothing that satisfyingly bizarre going on here. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 Most of the changes have felt like window dressing. oregonlive, 4 Apr. 2022 While the agents are a reach for a gritty milieu, the underwritten script gives the pair nothing but boilerplate dialogue, rendering them as mere window dressing. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 Some changed window dressing is indeed apparent, like the phrase March Madness now being included in the women’s game. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Mar. 2022 The security guarantees in the Budapest Memorandum were nothing more than window dressing. WSJ, 7 Mar. 2022 Alabama’s ground attack served as little more than window dressing in its past four games against SEC foes. Blake Toppmeyer, USA TODAY, 13 Dec. 2021 The decorative details on the main house depict faux columns and window dressing. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Secondly, there may be window dressing from professional portfolio managers. Simon Moore, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'window dressing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of window dressing

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About window dressing

Time Traveler for window dressing

Time Traveler

The first known use of window dressing was in 1850

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near window dressing

window display

window dressing


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for window dressing

Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Window dressing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!