bod·ice | \ˈbä-dəs \

Definition of bodice 

1 : the upper part of a woman's dress

2 archaic : corset, stays

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The Fashionable History of Bodice

The term bodice is derived from body. One sense of the word body is “the part of a garment covering the body or trunk.” In the 17th and 18th centuries a woman’s corset was often called a “pair of bodies.” The plural bodies, or bodice, was eventually interpreted as a singular. Bodice is now most often used to refer to the upper part of a woman’s dress.

Examples of bodice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The country superstar looked ravishing in red in a flowing gown with a cut-out, sequined bodice. Melody Chiu,, "Miranda Lambert Is Ravishing in Red as She Hits the ACMs Solo After Anderson East Split," 15 Apr. 2018 The rose wool-crepe dress features a panelled bodice and pencil skirt, with a curved waist seam for an elongating effect, and sheer sleeves finished with raw edges. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Can Buy Meghan Markle's Sheer Dress She Wore For Her First Appearance As Duchess," 22 May 2018 Some girlish giggles and a gauzy tangle of female flesh; an unlaced bodice; a puddle of lingerie. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Little Women’ Review: Big Problems," 10 May 2018 For the big day, the bride, 26, wore an open-back mermaid style gown by Milla Nova that was slim through the bodice and hips, and flared slightly at the bottom with sheer detailing and lace appliqué on the top. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Josh Abbott Is Married! All the Details from the Country Star and Wife Taylor Parnell's Big Day," 9 July 2018 Here, Plath implies that Esther’s façade, like her bodice, is faltering, and The Bell Jar promises to reveal what’s underneath. Kelly Coyne, The Atlantic, "The Literary Insights of Sylvia Plath’s College Thesis," 22 May 2018 The humble bodice winks at me, rolls over Sarah’s shoulders and plunges straight down to her waist. Karen Stabiner, New York Times, "No Seat in the Fitting Room for Me," 17 May 2018 The off-shoulder dress featured a wrapped bodice, floor-length pleats and a billowing cape that gave her a dramatic, yet delicate look. Fox News, "Melania Trump praised for J. Mendel gown: 'She looks like a princess'," 12 July 2018 The duchess wore a gorgeous black and gold dress with a sheer bodice by the designer in her official engagement portraits with Prince Harry back in December 2017. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Angelina Jolie Just Channeled Meghan Markle's Royal Style," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bodice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bodice

circa 1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bodice

alteration of bodies, plural of body entry 1

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Statistics for bodice

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for bodice

The first known use of bodice was circa 1567

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More Definitions for bodice



English Language Learners Definition of bodice

: the upper part of a dress


bod·ice | \ˈbä-dəs \

Kids Definition of bodice

: the upper part of a dress

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More from Merriam-Webster on bodice

Spanish Central: Translation of bodice

Nglish: Translation of bodice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bodice for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bodice

What made you want to look up bodice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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