Definition of dowdy in English:

dowdy

Line breaks: dowdy
Pronunciation: /ˈdaʊdi
 
/

adjective (dowdier, dowdiest)

  • (Of a person, typically a woman, or their clothes) unfashionable and unstylish in appearance: she could achieve the kind of casual chic which made every other woman around her look dowdy
    More example sentences
    • Gone is the willowy beauty, and in her place is a thin, pinched, dowdy lady, an eccentric Victorian who wears ugly hats.
    • Uncomfortable with her ‘frumpy’ appearance, she has replaced dowdy suits with bright blouses, employs a celebrity hairdresser and takes a makeup artist to rallies.
    • On the cover of Time, in a spread in Life, the image of Romania's Iron Lady was stout and unsmiling, a monolith with a face of stone, dowdy clothes and unkempt hair.
    Synonyms
    unfashionable, frumpish, frumpy, drab, dull, old-fashioned, outmoded, out of style, not smart, inelegant, badly dressed, ill-dressed, shabby, scruffy, faded, untidy, dingy, frowzy
    informal sad, tacky
    British informal mumsy
    Australian/New Zealand informal daggy

Derivatives

dowdily

adverb
More example sentences
  • And it's such a mind-bending, far-out trip that once-radical modernism comes to seem rather tame and dowdily down-to-earth.

dowdiness

noun
More example sentences
  • The Bridgwater end is probably the least attractive, showing more than its fair share of the graffiti, discarded trash and general dowdiness of a run-down town.
  • The warm practical clothes of winter whose sole functions were to provide warmth and comfort are shed as their weight and dowdiness becomes unbearable.
  • She made me feel ashamed of my relative dowdiness.

Origin

late 16th century (as a noun): from dowd.

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