from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To put clothes on; clothe.
  • intransitive verb To furnish with clothing.
  • intransitive verb To decorate or adorn.
  • intransitive verb To garnish.
  • intransitive verb To arrange a display in.
  • intransitive verb To arrange (troops) in ranks; align.
  • intransitive verb To apply medication, bandages, or other therapeutic materials to (a wound).
  • intransitive verb To arrange and groom (the hair), as by styling, combing, or washing.
  • intransitive verb To groom (an animal); curry.
  • intransitive verb To fertilize (land or plants).
  • intransitive verb Archaic To cultivate (land or plants).
  • intransitive verb To clean (fish or fowl) for cooking or sale.
  • intransitive verb To put a finish on (stone or wood, for example).
  • intransitive verb To tan or prepare (a hide) in leather-making.
  • intransitive verb To put on clothes.
  • intransitive verb To wear clothes of a certain kind or style.
  • intransitive verb To wear formal clothes.
  • intransitive verb To get into proper alignment with others.
  • noun Clothing; apparel.
  • noun A style of clothing.
  • noun A one-piece outer garment for women or girls.
  • noun Outer covering or appearance; guise.
  • adjective Suitable for formal occasions.
  • adjective Requiring formal clothes.
  • idiom (dress ship) To display the ensign, signal flags, and bunting on a ship.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In veg. pathol., to treat (grain and other seed) with hot water, formaldehyde solution, or a similar fungicide, for the purpose of destroying the spores of smut and other plant-diseases.
  • In milling, to clean and refine (flour); free (flour) from bran by passing it through bolters. See milling.
  • noun A garment, or the assemblage of garments, used as a covering for the body or for its adornment; clothes; apparel: as, to spend a good deal of money on dress.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun The gown or robe worn by women, consisting of a skirt and a waist, either made separately or in one garment.
  • noun Outward adornment; elegant clothing, or skill in selecting, combining, and adjusting articles of clothing: as, a love of dress; a man of dress.
  • noun In ornithology, plumage: as, spring or autumn dress; the breeding dress.
  • noun External finish: used especially of the arrangement of the furrows on a millstone.
  • noun Size; dressing.
  • noun Synonyms Clothing, raiment, habiliments, accoutrements, vestments, habit, attire, array, garb, costume, suit.
  • To put or make straight; adjust to a right line: as (in military use), to dress ranks.
  • To regulate; direct; set right; keep in the right course.
  • To adjust; fasten; fix.
  • To address; direct: as, to dress words to a person; hence, with reflexive pronoun, to direct or turn one's course, efforts, or attention; prepare or apply one's self to do something; repair; betake one's self: as, they dressed themselves to the dance.
  • To prepare or make ready; treat in some particular way, and thus fit for some special use or purpose
  • To prepare for use as food, by cooking or by the addition of suitable condiments, etc.: as, to dress meat; to dress a salad.
  • To make fit for the purpose intended, by some suitable process: as, to dress beef for the market; to dress skins; to dress flax or hemp.
  • To cut or reduce to the proper shape or dimensions, or evenness of surface, as by planing, chiseling, tooling, etc.; trim; finish off; put the finishing touches to: as, to dress timber; to dress a millstone


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French dresser, drescer, drecier ("to erect, set up, arrange, dress"), from Medieval Latin * directiare, an assumed frequentive, from Latin directus (" straight, direct"), perfect passive participle of dīrigō ("straighten, direct"), from dis- ("asunder, in pieces, apart, in two") + regō ("make straight, rule").


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