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Related to dressing: salad dressing
1. Literally, a decorative display in a window, typically the window of a store. When my mom and I go shopping at Christmastime, we always check out all the pretty holiday window dressings!
2. By extension, something that makes a person or thing look or seem better than it really is. To me, this new policy seems like window dressing to woo new employees. You say that you've changed, but how do I know it's not just window dressing to make you seem like less of a jerk?
dress (up) as (someone or something)
1. To wear clothing or accessories that cause one to look like someone or something else. My daughter plans to dress up as Cinderella for Halloween.
2. To outfit someone or something in clothing or accessories. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "dress" and "up" or "as" (if "up" is not being used). I have a friend who really enjoys dressing her dachshund as different historical figures.
See also: dress
1. To severely reprimand one. The person being scolded can be stated 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 for (someone or something)
1. To wear certain clothes in order to make someone else happy. I'm sorry, mom, but I'm 25 years old—I can't dress for you anymore!
2. To wear clothing that is appropriate for a specific occasion or outcome (as in the phrase "dress for success"). You're dressed for a trip to the mall, not a formal event. Please go change. I dressed for success in a suit and tie, but I don't think the recruiter was very impressed with me.
See also: dress
dress for success
To dress nicely, in the hope of inviting success in a particular area. I dressed for success in a suit and tie, but I don't think the recruiter was very impressed with me.
To display the flags and ensign on a ship. We need to dress ship for the special occasion taking place tonight.
1. To dress formally, perhaps more formally than usual. You need to dress up for this event tonight—a suit and tie would be appropriate. I dressed up for the birthday party and was embarrassed to find all of the other guests in shorts and T-shirts.
2. To wear attire that is appropriate for a specific occasion. It takes the kids forever to get dressed up for hockey practice, what with all the pads and layers of clothes they need to put on.
3. To improve or attempt to improve the appearance of something by decorating or embellishing it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dress" and "up." Don't worry, a fresh coat of paint will dress this room up. Don't try to dress it up, mom—my crush completely rejected me.
4. To wear a costume. My daughter plans to dress up as Cinderella for Halloween.
5. To dress someone or something in a costume. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "dress" and "up." I have a friend who really enjoys dressing up her dachshund as different historical figures.
6. noun A children's activity that involves dressing up in costumes. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. Because my girls love to play dress-up, they regularly emerge from the playroom in feather boas and tiaras.
7. adjective Describing an occasion that requires one to dress in formal or fanciful attire. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. Tonight's dinner is a dress-up event, so be sure to wear a suit and tie. What costume do you think you'll wear to tonight's dress-up party?
A severe reprimand. The person who messed up this report is definitely going to get a dressing-down. Mom and Dad gave me a dressing-down when I came in after curfew yet again.
dress ( oneself ) up
to dress in fancy dress. They dressed themselves up in their finest. Please dress up for the dance.
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.
dress someone or something up
to make someone or something appear fancier than is actually so. The publicity specialist dressed the actress up a lot. They dressed up the hall so it looked like a ballroom.
dress someone or something up (in something)
to clothe, decorate, or ornament someone or something in something. She dressed her dolls up in special clothing. She dressed up her dolls in tiny outfits.
dress someone up (as someone or something )
to dress someone to look like or impersonate someone or something. She dressed her little girl up as a witch for Halloween. She dressed up her little girl as a fairy.
a harsh scolding. The boss gave the entire sales crew a powerful dressing-down for missing their forecast.
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. Wear formal or elaborate clothes, as in I love to dress up for a party. [Late 1600s] For the antonym, see dress down, def. 2.
2. Put on a costume of some kind, as in The children love dressing up as witches and goblins. [Late 1800s]
3. Adorn or disguise something in order to make it more interesting or appealing. For example, She has a way of dressing up her account with fanciful details. [Late 1600s]
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.
1. To clothe someone or something: They dressed their dolls up in outfits they made themselves. The store owner dressed up the mannequin and put it in the window of the store.
2. To wear formal or fancy clothes: The students dressed up and went to the prom.
3. To dress someone in clothes suited for some particular occasion or situation: We dressed up the children for the cold weather. We'll need to dress ourselves up for wet weather. I can see you're dressed up to go hiking.
4. To wear clothes suited for some particular occasion or situation: People usually dress up in white to play tennis.
5. To make something appear more interesting or attractive than it actually is: The real estate agent dressed up the truth about the old house. The story of my trip was pretty boring, so I dressed it up with colorful exaggerations.
To display the ensign, signal flags, and bunting on a ship.
dressing down, a
A punishment, such as a scolding. In the fifteenth century, the verb “dress” was used alone in the sense of “to punish,” and “down” was added a couple of hundred years later. John Lescroart used it in his novel, The Hunt Club (2009), “The dressing down left Hunt literally shaking.” Without the article “a,” to dress down means to wear informal clothes. This usage dates from the mid-1900s.
See also: dressing