October 27, 2012
gussy up (verb)
\GUSS-ee-UP\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: dress up, embellish
How do you use it?
Grandma didn't know we were throwing her to a surprise birthday party, and kept demanding to know why we wanted her to get all gussied up.
Are you a word wiz?

You might think that "gussy up" has a rather old-fashioned sound to it. What do you think fashionable people might have been wearing at the time that "gussy up" first came into English?

You can wear a smile if you chose D. Though "gussy up" sounds quite dated, it traces back only to the 1950s, when poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and crew cuts were the popular fashions. In case you are not up on historical style, the doublet, a man's closely-fitted jacket, and the ruff, a large round collar, were fashion statements during the Renaissance. Knee length pants called "breeches," as well as wigs (later including powdered wigs) were popular in the mid-1600s and into the 1700s. Stovepipe hats, perhaps most familiar as the headwear worn by Abraham Lincoln, and frock coats, were the style in the 1800s.
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