v. dressed, dress·ing, dress·es
a. To put clothes on; clothe.
b. To furnish with clothing.
2. To decorate or adorn: dress a Christmas tree.
3. To garnish: dressed the side dish with parsley.
4. To arrange a display in: dress a store window.
5. To arrange (troops) in ranks; align.
6. To apply medication, bandages, or other therapeutic materials to (a wound).
7. To arrange and groom (the hair), as by styling, combing, or washing.
8. To groom (an animal); curry.
a. To fertilize (land or plants).
b. Archaic To cultivate (land or plants).
10. To clean (fish or fowl) for cooking or sale.
a. To put a finish on (stone or wood, for example).
b. To tan or prepare (a hide) in leather-making.
1. To put on clothes.
2. To wear clothes of a certain kind or style: dresses casually.
3. To wear formal clothes: dress for dinner.
4. To get into proper alignment with others: The troops dressed on the squad leader.
1. Clothing; apparel.
2. A style of clothing: folk dancers in peasant dress.
3. A one-piece outer garment consisting of a skirt and bodice.
4. Outer covering or appearance; guise: an ancient ritual in modern dress.
1. Suitable for formal occasions: dress shoes.
2. Requiring formal clothes: a dress dinner.
1. To scold; reprimand: I was dressed down by the teacher for lateness.
2. To wear informal clothes, befitting an occasion or location: Many employees dress down on Fridays.
1. To wear a costume or style of clothing, especially formal attire: They dressed up for the prom. The children dress up on Halloween.
2. To improve the outward appearance of: The new curtains dressed up the room. She dressed up the speech with famous quotations.
dress ship Nautical
To display the ensign, signal flags, and bunting on a ship.
[Middle English dressen, to arrange, put on clothing, from Old French drecier, to arrange, from Vulgar Latin *dīrēctiāre, from Latin dīrēctus, past participle of dīrigere, to direct; see DIRECT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.