Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR DOWDY

Henry perceived that his mother and his aunt were badly dressed—in truth, dowdy.

You know you wouldn't like it if I went about in dowdy old things.

A little girl in Punch improves on the talk of her dowdy mother with the maids.

So that dowdy get-up is for my benefit, and is not habitual to her!

Why do you hide your hair, and wear such a dowdy, high gown, Julia?

A dowdy in sad-colored print or linsey is by no means to their taste.

Dowdy in dress, and drooping, she showed to great disadvantage.

She felt plain and dowdy beside them, and her spirits suffered in consequence.

So was Madeleine, though she had to sit most of the evening by the Princess—such a dowdy!

No, sir, I'm not going out a dowdy to please you or anybody else.

WORD ORIGIN

1580s (n.), "an aukward, ill-dressed, inelegant woman" [Johnson]; 1670s (adj.), perhaps a diminutive of doue "poorly dressed woman" (early 14c.), of uncertain origin. The modern use of dowd (n.) is most likely a back-formation from dowdy. "If plaine or homely, wee saie she is a doudie or a slut" [Barnabe Riche, "Riche his Farewell to Militarie profession," 1581].

Related: Dowdily; dowdiness.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR DOWDY

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.