Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably

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. 2015.
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fancy dress

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fancy

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for fancy-dress