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[dap-er] /ˈdæp ər/
neat; trim; smart:
He looked very dapper in his new suit.
lively and brisk:
to walk with a dapper step.
small and active.
Origin of dapper
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English daper < Middle Dutch dapper nimble, stalwart; cognate with German tapfer brave
Related forms
dapperly, adverb
dapperness, noun
undapper, adjective
1. spruce, modish, jaunty, natty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dapper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was Lasalle, and with him was a lame gentleman, very neatly dressed in black with dapper ruffles and cuffs.

  • The dapper little officer in khaki was Aguinaldo, and this is the story of how I saw him.

    Bamboo Tales Ira L. Reeves
  • They went to where they found the dapper warriors standing in the court in a great press of welcoming knights.

  • Major Forsyth arrived in time for tea, red-faced, dapper, and immaculate.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • A genial gentleman, the druggist, white-coated and dapper, stepping affably about the fragrant-smelling store.

    Half Portions Edna Ferber
British Dictionary definitions for dapper


neat and spruce in dress and bearing; trim
small and nimble
Derived Forms
dapperly, adverb
dapperness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Dutch: active, nimble
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dapper

mid-15c., "elegant," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German dapper "bold, strong, sturdy," later "quick, nimble," from Proto-Germanic *dapraz, perhaps with ironical shift of meaning (cf. Old High German tapfar "heavy," German tapfer "brave"), from PIE root *dheb- "dense, firm, compressed."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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