Definitions

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

  • noun A bomb, shell, or explosive round that fails to detonate.
  • noun Informal One that is disappointingly ineffective or unsuccessful.
  • noun Clothing.
  • noun Personal belongings.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A coarse cloak or mantle.
  • noun A rag.
  • noun plural [Formerly also spelled dudes, as in Harman's “Caveat” (1567), where the word is erroneously set down as “pedlar's French”—that is, thieves' cant.] Clothes; especially, poor or ragged clothing; tatters: used in contempt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun informal A device or machine that is useless because it does not work properly or has failed to work, such as a bomb, or explosive projectile.
  • noun A lottery ticket that does not give a payout.
  • noun obsolete Clothes, now always used in plural form duds.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective failing to detonate; especially not charged with an active explosive
  • noun someone who is unsuccessful
  • noun an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual
  • noun an explosion that fails to occur

Etymologies

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

[Middle English dudde, a cloak.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Ultimately from dudde ("ragged clothing or cloth"), of uncertain origin beyond that.

Examples

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  • a wallflower

    October 8, 2010