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

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Other Words from window dressing

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

Synonyms for window dressing


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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 And the clean grill marks etched across chicken breast painted with chipotle and cilantro sauces were just window dressing for meat that came out dry and stringy. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine restaurant is mid-level Mexican food in San Antonio’s Stone Oak," 22 Aug. 2019 Ultimately, all of this is experience-economy window dressing for The Mission’s actual mission: putting on concerts. Dylan Owens, The Know, "With Mission Ballroom, Denver finally has the concert venue it deserves," 8 Aug. 2019 To critics, all these theories are no more than window dressing for a racist system that intimidates, imprisons and kills black people indiscriminately in order to make white people feel safe. Molly Ball, Time, "Jeff Sessions Is Winning for Donald Trump. If Only He Can Keep His Job," 29 Mar. 2018 The characters are so feeble, and their stories are so inconsequential, that everything that would usually make a movie interesting becomes window dressing for… well, the window dressings... Sarah Weldon, Cosmopolitan, "20 Meanest Things Critics Are Saying About Fifty Shades Freed," 9 Feb. 2018 All this is just window dressing around the real point: Nintendo’s offering a chance to play some of its best games again, in more or less their original form. David Pierce, WIRED, "Review: Nintendo SNES Classic Edition," 27 Sep. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of window dressing

1895, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for window dressing

Last Updated

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for window dressing

The first known use of window dressing was in 1895

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More Definitions for window dressing

window dressing


Financial Definition of window dressing

What It Is

Window dressing is a term that describes the act of making a company's performance, particularly its financial statements, look attractive.

How It Works

Let's assume Company XYZ wants to look attractive to potential acquirers. It might do some window dressing by announcing much higher sales projections, obtaining and holding a lot of cash, or making other announcements that are likely to raise the stock price, even if only for a short time. The objective is to make a favorable impression on potential acquirers.

Companies are not the only ones to engage in window dressing. Mutual funds do it as well, often by cutting their losses and buying high-fliers (sometimes that are not even in the fund's investment sector) near the end of a reporting period.

Why It Matters

Window dressing is an attention-getting maneuver that can venture into unethical or illegal territory. At a minimum, the practice is generally looked upon unfavorably (after all, everyone has experienced the feeling of realizing that something isn't quite what it's cracked up to be). Nonetheless, when done carefully, window dressing can pay off by attracting customers, lenders, or investors.

Source: Investing Answers

window dressing


English Language Learners Definition of window dressing

: the act of decorating and arranging products to display in a store window
disapproving : something that is intended to make a person or thing seem better or more attractive but that does not have any real importance or effect

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Comments on window dressing

What made you want to look up window dressing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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