Definition of dowdy in English:


Syllabification: dow·dy
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unfashionable, frumpy, old-fashioned, outmoded, out-of-date, inelegant, shabby, frowzy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)

Back to top  
A woman who is unfashionably and unattractively dressed.
More 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.


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



Pronunciation: /ˈdoudəlē/
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.


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.

Definition of dowdy in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day bimble
Pronunciation: ˈbimbəl
walk or travel at a leisurely pace