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Apparently of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish kilt ‎(to tuck), Swedish kilta ‎(to swathe), Old Norse kjalta ‎(skirt; lap) (perhaps from Proto-Germanic *kelt-, *kelþōn, *kelþīn ‎(womb), from Proto-Indo-European *gelt- ‎(round body, child)).[1]



kilt ‎(third-person singular simple present kilts, present participle kilting, simple past and past participle kilted)

  1. To gather up (skirts) around the body. [from 14th c.]
    • 1933, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Cloud Howe, Polygon 2006 (A Scots Quair), p. 385:
      Else at her new place worked outdoor and indoor, she'd to kilt her skirts (if they needed kilting – and that was damned little with those short-like frocks) and go out and help at the spreading of dung […].


A kilt

kilt ‎(plural kilts)

  1. A traditional Scottish garment, usually worn by men, having roughly the same morphology as a wrap-around skirt, with overlapping front aprons and pleated around the sides and back, and usually made of twill-woven worsted wool with a tartan pattern. [from 18th c.]
  2. (historical) Any Scottish garment from which the above lies in a direct line of descent, such as the philibeg, or the great kilt or belted plaid;
  3. A plaid, pleated school uniform skirt sometimes structured as a wrap around, sometimes pleated throughout the entire circumference; also used as boys' wear in 19th century USA.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
  4. A variety of non-bifurcated garments made for men and loosely resembling a Scottish kilt, but most often made from different fabrics and not always with tartan plaid designs.




  1. ^ Etymology of kilte in Ordbok over det danske sprog



kilt m (plural kilts)

  1. kilt (traditional Scottish man’s skirt)