Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

dress up - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theydress up
he/she/itdresses up
present participledressing up
past tensedressed up
past participledressed up
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to put on clothes that make you look like someone else, for fun
    dress up as:

    They had dressed up as princes and princesses.

    1. a.
      [transitive]dress someone up to put clothes on someone so that they look like someone else, for fun

      For her birthday party, they had dressed her up as a fairy.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to put on clothes that are more formal than the clothes you usually wear

    Jonah had obviously made an effort to dress up for the occasion.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to make something seem more impressive than it really is

    He tries to dress it up, but he’s basically a waiter.

See also main entry: dress


a title used before a man or woman's name as a gender-neutral alternative to Mr, Ms, etc

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


another way of saying congratulations, or that something/someone looks nice or fascinating

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play