1 [dou-dee]
adjective, dowdier, dowdiest.
not stylish; drab; old-fashioned: Why do you always wear those dowdy old dresses?
not neat or tidy; shabby.
noun, plural dowdies.
a dowdy woman.

1300–50; Middle English doude unattractive woman (of uncertain origin) + -y1 or -y2

dowdily, adverb
dowdiness, noun
dowdyish, adjective
dowdyism, noun

1. frumpy.

1. fashionable, stylish. Unabridged


2 [dou-dee]
noun, plural dowdies.

1935–40; short form Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dowdy (ˈdaʊdɪ)
adj , -dier, -diest
1.  (esp of a woman's dress) drab, unflattering, and old-fashioned
n , -dier, -diest, -dies
2.  a dowdy woman
[C14: dowd slut, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1580s (n.), 1670s (adj.), probably dim. 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" [1581].
"You don't have to be dowdy to be a Christian." [Tammy Faye Bakker, "Newsweek," June 8, 1987]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The stage is littered with empty soda cans, dusty phonographs, articles of
  dowdy clothing and flung shoes.
His low-res computer graphics struck some as dowdy and irrelevant, and so did
  his target market.
Here are seven well-priced coats that are chic enough to break through those
  dowdy gray clouds.
In its new marketing campaign, the footwear company is trying to move beyond
  the image of its dowdy clog original.
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