Definition of dowdy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdoudē/

adjective (dowdier, dowdiest)

(Of a person, typically a woman, or their clothes) unfashionable and without style in appearance: she could achieve the kind of casual chic that 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.
unfashionable, frumpy, old-fashioned, outmoded, out-of-date, inelegant, shabby, frowzy

noun (plural dowdies)

A woman who is unfashionably and unattractively dressed.
Example sentences
  • They are nothing only a crowd of auld dowdies from Killiney, who should keep their noses out of Athy, said Cllr Paddy Wright.
  • The suffragettes are not all dowdies; but they are mainly supported by dowdies.



Pronunciation: /ˈdoudəlē/
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.


Pronunciation: /ˈdoudēnəs/
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.


Late 16th century: from dowd 'person of unfashionable appearance' (of unknown origin) +-y1.

Words that rhyme with dowdy

cloudy, Gaudí, howdy, rowdy, Saudi

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dow·dy

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