One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verb[WITH OBJECT]gussy someone/something up
Make someone or something more attractive, especially in a showy or gimmicky way.‘shopkeepers gussied up their window displays’
groom, tidy, arrange, brush, comb, smooth, smarten, smarten up, spruce up, freshen, freshen up, beautify, pretty, preen, primp, prink, prink upView synonyms
- ‘He gussies the desserts up with one good strawberry, a wedge of papaya and some pretty but underripe star fruit.’
- ‘‘Some mini blinds would look nice in here,’ they suggest, while in their hearts they know that if we don't gussy the joint up, no woman will ever have us.’
- ‘This might be one of the saddest songs ever written, and instead of trying to gussy it up or use it to show off her pipes, Osborne just wraps the thing in a big fat hug.’
- ‘Teams of specialists on the ground gussy them up for public consumption.’
- ‘Then they gussy them up with brilliant transfers, polished sound, and more extras than many big budget studios provide in an entire quarter's output.’
- ‘It's a good thing the cover is not gussied up or cheapened with Courbet paintings.’
- ‘They can try to gussy it up all they want, but baseball remains essentially an idler's game.’
- ‘It took approximately twenty minutes for her to finish gussying me up with make-up and hair products until she finally stood back to admire her work.’
- ‘If this is the revamped, ‘exciting’ version of the show, I'd hate to think what it'd have been like if they hadn't gussied it up.’
- ‘Well, I'll gussy it up, stick it in a frame or some such to hang in my office (read: bathroom) until such time comes for me to display it publicly.’
- ‘This brilliantly colored merry-go-round of a cake is gussied up in minutes.’
- ‘I would stake good money that the tracks are identical, just another way to make it seem like this flick has been gussied up when really it's still some lame import transfer with little alteration.’
- ‘RD's takes the same concept and gussies it up for the theatre district.’
- ‘Part of the larger Gateway Village complex, the lofts gussy up the streetscape and hide a huge parking garage behind them.’
- ‘He dropped them into a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and garlic, doused them with sherry and butter, and gussied them up with vermicelli.’
- ‘He built a few variations, gussied them up with silver neoprene skirts, then took out his first ad in the April 1974 issue of Boys' Life.’
1940s: perhaps from Gussie, pet form of the given name Augustus.
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