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Related to dress down: eat one's heart out
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1. To severely reprimand someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dress" and "down." The boss will definitely dress down the person who messed up this report. Mom and Dad dressed me down when I came in after curfew yet again.
2. To dress more casually than usual. We're allowed to dress down on Fridays if we don't have any big meetings scheduled.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
dress someone down
to bawl someone out; to give someone a good scolding. The drill sergeant dressed down the entire squadron for failing inspection. I'm really late. I know my parents will dress me down when I get home.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Scold, reprimand, as in The sergeant will dress down the entire unit. In the 15th century the verb dress alone was used in the sense of "punish," down being added several centuries later. It also gave rise to the noun dressing down for punishment with blows or words. For example, The teacher gave the girls a severe dressing down.
2. Wear informal clothes, as in It's best to dress down for a party like a barbecue. [Mid-1900s] For the antonym, see dress up.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To scold or reprimand someone: The teacher dressed down the students for arriving to class late. My parents dressed me down for being rude.
2. To wear informal clothes, befitting an occasion or location: I dressed down for the casual party.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.