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fancy dress

a costume for a ball, masquerade, etc., chosen to please the fancy, usually a costume characteristic of a particular period or place, class of persons, or historical or fictitious character.
Origin of fancy dress
1760-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for fancy-dress
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are going to have a fancy-dress ball on board, I believe, before we get to Aden.

    Mrs. Falchion, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • She turned the simplest gathering to a fancy-dress ball, he decided.

    Mrs. Dud's Sister Josephine Daskam
  • The grievance reached its height when William said he was going to Hucknall Torkard—considered a low town—to a fancy-dress ball.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • He had dressed up, one might suppose, for some fancy-dress ball.

    The Dark Forest Hugh Walpole
  • Is it an offence to go to a fancy-dress ball in a police officer's uniform?

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
  • She desired that the affair should be quite perfect; it was to be a fancy-dress ball.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
  • On the day after the review a fancy-dress ball was to be given at Court.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • It was to be a fancy-dress ball, and all were to wear masks.

  • It reminded him of the fancy-dress party he had once been to with Helen, when he wore a Pierrot's dress and felt very silly in it.

    The Magic City Edith Nesbit
British Dictionary definitions for fancy-dress

fancy dress

  1. costume worn at masquerades, etc, usually representing a particular role, historical figure, etc
  2. (as modifier): a fancy-dress ball
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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