mid-14c., "rule, control," verbal noun from dress (v.). In some Middle English uses also short for addressing. In cookery, "sauce used in preparing a dish for the table," from c. 1500. Meaning "bandage applied to a wound or sore" is by 1713.
Dressing-gown "a loose and easy robe worn while applying makeup or doing the hair" is attested from 1777; dressing-room "room intended to be used for dressing" is from 1670s. Dressing-up "act or fact of attiring oneself with attention to style and fashion" is by 1852. Dressing-down (n.) "a reprimand" is by 1839, American English, originally "a thrashing," perhaps ironic or extended from some 19c. mechanical or commercial sense.
updated on January 15, 2023