Middle English, from Anglo-French, diminutive of cors
First Known Use: 13th century
Definition of CORSET
: to dress in or fit with a corset
: to restrict closely : control rigidly
First Known Use of CORSET
Article of clothing worn to shape or constrict the torso. It dates to at least c. 2000 BC, when it was worn as an outer garment by men as well as women in Minoan Crete. In the 16th–17th century it was worn to flatten the chest and was reinforced with wood. Some outer corsets were jeweled and elaborately embroidered. After 1660 they were shaped to accentuate the breasts. In the 19th century the corset, now reinforced with whalebone or metal, changed with the style of dresses; over-tight lacing of corsets was blamed for numerous health problems. The corset was abandoned in the 1920s, when looser-fitting, straight clothes came into fashion, and in the 1930s it was replaced by the brassiere and girdle, made of elastic materials, and by the one-piece corselette.