DRESSING DOWN ORIGIN
Sunday August 16th, 2009
To give someone a dressing down generally means a reprimand or telling of for inefficiency or poor behaviour leading to some kind of failure. As always with phrases featured in this section of the site the term is of nautical origin and refers to the temporary repair of sails that had worn thin. To increase their efficiency they were treated with wax or, as it was called in bygone days, ‘dressed down’.