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A mannequin wearing a bra and a girdle (sense 3).
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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English girdel, gerdel, gurdel, from Old English gyrdel, from Proto-West Germanic *gurdil, from Proto-Germanic *gurdilaz (girdle, belt), equivalent to gird +‎ -le.


girdle (plural girdles)

  1. That which girds, encircles, or encloses; a circumference
  2. A belt or sash at the waist, often used to support stockings or hosiery.
  3. A garment used to hold the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and/or thighs in a particular shape.
  4. The zodiac; also, the equator.
    • 1799, Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope:
      that gems the starry girdle of the year
    • 1782, William Cowper, Expostulation:
      from the world's girdle to the frozen pole
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “IV. Century.”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] William Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], →OCLC:
      under the girdle of the world
  5. The line of greatest circumference of a brilliant-cut diamond, at which it is grasped by the setting.[2]
  6. (mining) A thin bed or stratum of stone.[3]
  7. The clitellum of an earthworm.
  8. The removal or inversion of a ring of bark in order to kill or stunt a tree.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


girdle (third-person singular simple present girdles, present participle girdling, simple past and past participle girdled)

  1. (transitive) To gird, encircle, or constrain by such means.
    • 1920, Edward Carpenter, Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning, page 36:
      The Equator, as everyone knows, is an imaginary line or circle girdling the Earth half-way between the North and South poles.
  2. (transitive) To kill or stunt a tree by removing or inverting a ring of bark.
    • 1911, Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study, 24th edition, published 1939, page 108:
      The ordinary large reddish "hen hawks," which circle high above meadows, are doing great good to the farmer by feeding upon the mice and other creatures which steal his grain and girdle his trees.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


girdle (plural girdles)

  1. (Scotland, Northern English) Alternative form of griddle


  1. ^ Aeschylus (1926) “Persians”, in Herbert Weir Smyth, transl., Aeschylus, with an English translation [] , volume 1, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, section 155
  2. ^ Edward H[enry] Knight (1877) “Girdle”, in Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), New York, N.Y.: Hurd and Houghton [], →OCLC.
  3. ^ Rossiter W[orthington] Raymond (1881) “Girdle”, in A Glossary of Mining and Metallurgical Terms. [], Easton, Pa.: [American] Institute [of Mining Engineers], [], →OCLC.