verb[with object] informal
- In the meantime, the review, a fine piece, primps and titivates my fancy, in much the same way that a sorbet readies the palate before the main course arrives.
- Wigs for the dolls are imported ready styled, but of course they can be titivated to suit and the long wigs can be plaited.
- It was nice to get home in the daylight, and have time to titivate the garden before tea.
- Given that, at Christmas, the world is full of beautiful women titivating themselves, I think my malaise is understandable.
- I need to go upstairs and titivate myself before hard-working husband's return.
- In this discussion, attempt is devoted to discern the political symbolism he should now titivate himself with in the light of fulfilling the presidential rite of passage.
The verbs titillate and titivate sound alike but do not have the same meaning. Titillate, a much more common word, means ‘stimulate or excite,’ as in the press are paid to titillate the public. Titivate, on the other hand, means ‘adorn or smarten up,’ as in she titivated her hair.
- Example sentences
- Of course, we'll be so busy preparing for this damn party (final unpackings as we assemble newly arrived furniture, last-minute house and garden titivations, shopping etc), I'm not sure I'll have time to blog before Monday.
- While I underwent the titivations, the suit had been pressed.
- To ask who should be there is not just a protocol question for the titivation of social secretaries.
Early 19th century (in early use, also as tidivate): perhaps from tidy, on the pattern of cultivate.
tide from Old English:
In Old English a tide was a period or season, a sense surviving in Eastertide and Shrovetide, and it was not used in connection with the sea until the later medieval period. The saying time and tide wait for no man originally referred just to time, with tide used as a repetition of the sense to add emphasis. Despite the great difference in their contemporary meanings, tidy (Middle English) is from tide. Right up to the early 18th century it meant ‘timely, seasonable, opportune’, and acquired its current sense via the uses ‘attractive, good-looking’ and ‘good, pleasing’ around 1700. Perhaps based on tidy is the verb titivate which in the early 19th century was also spelt tidivate.
For editors and proofreaders
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.