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Back-formation from dowdy.



dowd (plural dowds)

  1. (archaic) A dowdy person, especially a woman; a frump.
    • 1913, Henry Sydnor Harrison, V. V.'s Eyes, Chapter XI:
      He, of course, was only an unbalanced religious fanatic, whose opinions were not of the slightest consequence to anybody, whom everybody seemed to take a dislike to at sight (except ignorant paupers like the Cooneys), and whose ideal type of girl would probably be some hideous dowd, a slum-worker, a Salvation Army lassie, perhaps.
    • 1915, James Branch Cabell, The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck, Chapter II:
      "You wouldn't have me a dowd, Olaf?" said she, demurely. "I have to be neat and tidy, you know. You wouldn't have me going about in a continuous state of unbuttonedness and black bombazine like Mrs. Rabbet, would you?"
    • 1920, May Edginton, Married Life, or The True Romance, Chapter XVI:
      Marie was still away upon her trail. "I don't really let myself go as much as you might think. I'm always dressed for breakfast, if I've been up half the night; I don't allow myself to be slovenly. And however I've had to hurry over putting the children to bed, and cooking dinner and things, I always change my blouse and put on my best slippers before Osborn comes in. I feel—at home I feel as if I look quite nice; but when I come out of it"—she indicated her surroundings—"I realise I'm just a dowd who's fast losing what looks she had. When I come out, and see others, I—I know I can't compete. It makes you almost afraid to come out. And Osborn—while I'm at home, plodding along, you see, he's out, seeing the others all the time. He sees them in the restaurants, and they pass him in the street—girls as I used to be."
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:dowd.


Alternative forms[edit]




  1. (literary) preterite impersonal of dod


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
dowd ddowd nowd unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.