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dowdy1

[dou-dee] /ˈdaʊ di/
adjective, dowdier, dowdiest.
1.
not stylish; drab; old-fashioned:
Why do you always wear those dowdy old dresses?
2.
not neat or tidy; shabby.
noun, plural dowdies.
3.
a dowdy woman.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English doude unattractive woman (of uncertain origin) + -y1 or -y2
Related forms
dowdily, adverb
dowdiness, noun
dowdyish, adjective
dowdyism, noun
Synonyms
1. frumpy.
Antonyms
1. fashionable, stylish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dowdyism

dowdy

/ˈdaʊdɪ/
adjective -dier, -diest
1.
(esp of a woman's dress) drab, unflattering, and old-fashioned
noun (pl) -dies
2.
a dowdy woman
Derived Forms
dowdily, adverb
dowdiness, noun
dowdyish, adjective
Word Origin
C14: dowd slut, of unknown origin
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 dowdyism

dowdy

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].

You don't have to be dowdy to be a Christian. [Tammy Faye Bakker, "Newsweek," June 8, 1987]
Related: Dowdily; dowdiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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