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From Middle English undressen, equivalent to un- +‎ dress. Compare Old English unsċrȳdan (to undress, literally un-shroud).


  • enPR: ŭn-drĕs', IPA(key): /ʌnˈdɹɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


undress (third-person singular simple present undresses, present participle undressing, simple past and past participle undressed)

  1. (reflexive) To remove one's clothing. [from 16th c.]
  2. (intransitive) To remove one’s clothing. [from 17th c.]
    The doctor asked me to undress for the examination.
  3. (transitive) To remove the clothing of (someone). [from 17th c.]
    The young men slowly and sensually undressed each other before making passionate love.
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To strip of something. [from 17th c.]
  5. To take the dressing, or covering, from.
    to undress a wound


Derived terms[edit]



undress (countable and uncountable, plural undresses)

  1. (now archaic or historical) Partial or informal dress for women, as worn in the home rather than in public.
    • 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: Harrison and Co., [], →OCLC:
      Here he had not waited above ten minutes, when Emilia entered in a most inchanting undress, with all the graces of nature playing about her person, and in a moment rivetted the chains of his slavery beyond the power of accident to unbind.
  2. (now archaic or historical) Informal clothing for men, as opposed to formal or ceremonial wear.
    • 1791, Charlotte Smith, Celestina, Broadview, published 2004, page 92:
      His undress, and the agitation he was apparently in, which she imputed to the effect of her charms, combined to make him appear more interesting both to the mother and daughter [] .
  3. Now more specifically, a state of having few or no clothes on.
    She returned to her dorm to find her roommate, fresh out of the shower, in a state of undress.
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, →OCLC:
      The visitor, observing that she held the door on the inside, and that, when the uncle tried to open it, there was a sharp adjuration of 'Don't, stupid!' and an appearance of loose stocking and flannel, concluded that the young lady was in an undress.

Derived terms[edit]