dressed as vs dressed like

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Nick 81

Senior Member
Italian
Hi! What is the difference between "dressed as" and ""dressed like"?

Examples: She is dressed as a boy.
She is dressed like a boy.

I know that generally "like" is used to show a similarity between two things or people whereas "as+ subject+ verb" is used to compare two actions.

Examples: 1) She is like her sister. (Here I am comparing two people)
2) She speaks as her sister does. (Here I am saying that they speak in the same way).

I also know that "as+ noun" is used to mean "in the position of".
-She spoke as our boss. (She spoke in the position of our boss).

But, do these differences apply to "She is dressed as a boy" and "She is dressed like a boy" as well?

1)She is dressed as a boy.= She wants to pretend to be a boy, so she is wearing clothes usually worn by boys.
2) She is dressed like a boy. = She is wearing clothes which make her look like a boy.
Added: I am very uncertain about that, though.
 
Last edited:
  • sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    1)She is dressed as a boy.= She wants to pretend to be a boy, so she is wearing clothes usually worn by boys.
    2) She is dressed like a boy. = She is wearing clothes which make her look like a boy.
    Added: I am very uncertain about that, though.
    The difference is subtle. Here's how I understand it, but hopefully others will chime in too.

    She is dressed as a boy = she is pretending to be a boy, or she is dressed fully in boys' clothes.
    She is dressed like a boy = she is not pretending to be a boy, she is just dressing in clothes that may be perceived as masculine.

    Similarly:
    She dresses as a boy = she regularly dresses herself fully in boys' clothing, maybe because she is experimenting with her gender identity or because she is disguising herself to pass as male (like some women who pretended to be men to fight in wars -- the Mulan legend, the American Civil War, etc).
    She dresses like a boy = could be the same as the above, but probably more mild -- she tends toward masculine or androgynous clothing, avoids skirts and pink and makeup, etc. She may be experimenting with her gender identity, but she is probably not attempting to "pass as" male.
     

    avadona

    Member
    ukraininan, Ukraine
    Hello! I have a related question. Can we all above said apply to dressed up as? For exmple. She is dressed up as a rapper ( for Halloween) she is dressed like a rapper. ( she has a rap look) thank you in advance!
     
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