Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to dress down: eat one's heart out
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
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.
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.
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.
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.