Pronunciation Verb

dress (dresses, present participle dressing; past dressed, past participle dressed)

  1. (transitive) To fit out with the necessary clothing; to clothe, put clothes on (something or someone). [from 15thc.]
    He was dressed in the latest fashions.
  2. (intransitive) To clothe oneself; to put on clothes. [from 18thc.]
    I rose and dressed before daybreak.  It's very cold out. Dress warm.
  3. (sports, ambitransitive) To put on the uniform and equipment necessary to play the game.
    Due to a left ankle sprain, Kobe Bryant did not dress for the game against Indiana
  4. (intransitive, euphemism) Of a man, to allow the genitals to fall to one side or other within the trousers. [from 20thc.]
    Does sir dress to the right or the left?
  5. (transitive) To prepare (food) for cooking, especially by seasoning it. [from 15thc.]
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Scene 3,
      Here, love; thou seest how diligent I am,
      To dress thy meat myself, and bring it thee:
    • 1595, George Peele, The Old Wives’ Tale, The Malone Society Reprints, 1908, lines 142-143,
      OLD WOMAN. […] he sent all his men out of his Land.
      FROLICKE. Who drest his dinner then?
  6. (obsolete, reflexive, intransitive) To prepare oneself; to make ready. [14th-16thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:6.18?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter xviij], in Le Morte Darthur, book IV:
      but syr Gawayns spere brak / but sir marhaus spere helde / And therwith syre Gawayne and his hors russhed doune to the erthe / And lyghtly syre Gawayne rose on his feet / and pulled out his swerd / and dressyd hym toward syr Marhaus on foote
  7. To adorn, ornament. [from 15thc.]
    It was time to dress the windows for Christmas again.
    • ?, Alfred Tennyson, The Merman
      dressing their hair with the white sea flower
    • If he felt obliged to expostulate, he might have dressed his censures in a kinder form.
  8. (nautical) To ornament (a ship) by hoisting the national colours at the peak and mastheads, and setting the jack forward; when "dressed full", the signal flags and pennants are added.
  9. (transitive, theatre, film, television) To prepare (a set) by installing the props, scenery, etc.
    • 2012, Marvin Silbersher, A Fistful of Stars (page 106)
      Mallory, all night long, single-handedly painted and dressed the set so that at eight o'clock Sunday morning when we arrived to make breakfast in the kitchen, there she was sound asleep on the davenport in the set, every prop in place.
  10. (transitive) To treat (a wound, or wounded person). [from 15thc.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.5:
      Daily she dressed him, and did the best / His grievous hurt to guarish, that she might […].
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island:
      […] he was deadly pale, and the blood-stained bandage round his head told that he had recently been wounded, and still more recently dressed.
  11. To prepare for use; to fit for any use; to render suitable for an intended purpose; to get ready.
    to dress leather or cloth;  to dress a garden;  to dress grain, by cleansing it;  in mining and metallurgy, to dress ores, by sorting and separating them
    • Bible, Exodus xxx. 7
      When he dresseth the lamps he shall burn incense.
    • three hundred horses […] smoothly dressed
  12. (transitive) To prepare the surface of (a material; usually stone or lumber).
  13. (transitive) To manure (land).
  14. (transitive) To bolt or sift flour.
  15. (military, ambitransitive, sometimes, imperative) To arrange in exact continuity of line, as soldiers; commonly to adjust to a straight line and at proper distance; to align.
    to dress the ranks
    Right, dress!
  16. To break and train for use, as a horse or other animal.
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Noun


  1. (countable) An item of clothing (usually worn by a woman or young girl) which both covers the upper part of the body and includes skirts below the waist.
    Amy and Mary looked very pretty in their dresses.
  2. (uncountable) Apparel, clothing.
    He came to the party in formal dress.
  3. The system of furrows on the face of a millstone.
  4. A dress rehearsal.
Translations Translations

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