Can “dress” mean “skirt”?

I’ve encountered a person learning English using “dress” for a piece of clothing that covers the top half of her body (and possibly her legs as well).

I was under the impression that “dress” used to mean clothing in general, but nowadays is more commonly used to mean “skirt”.

However, I looked up Wiktionary and Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and both of them indicate it means a piece of clothing that covers the top half of the body and hangs down over the legs.

I’m not an expert on women’s apparel. Was I mistaken in thinking that “dress” could be used for a synonym for “skirt”?


Dress can mean garb in the general sense.

But it can also mean a specific type of women’s clothing.
I used to think that dresses and skirts were all the same, but my wife has finally straightened me out.

A dress is a single piece of clothing that covers the upper and lower parts of the body:

red dress

whereas a skirt only covers from the waist down:

grey skirt

But some people (like me) don’t understand the difference and tend to use the terms incorrectly – most people are very forgiving about it.

Source : Link , Question Author : Andrew Grimm , Answer Author : Jim

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