bod·​ice ˈbä-dəs How to pronounce bodice (audio)
: the upper part of a woman's dress
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.

Learn more about bodice history

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Everyone's eyes were drawn to one performer in a regal black gown with lace and intricate beadwork along the bodice and sleeves. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2023 In pics from the event, Serena, 41, rocked a formfitting, black velvet gown, with a plunging neckline that showed off a sheer bodice and bra underneath. Jacqueline Tempera, Women's Health, 28 Feb. 2023 Gene Simmons' Daughter Sophie Announces Engagement: 'This Is the Time' For the reception, Sophie opted for a strapless, corseted design, still with the blush touch, featuring a sheer bodice and tulle skirt. Zizi Strater, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2023 The silver wedding dress, on the other hand, was made for a special occasion and was found in separate pieces, including a bodice and skirt. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 17 Feb. 2023 The dress fell in uneven spikes at the skirt and featured white pearlescent buttons running across the bodice. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Feb. 2023 Ralph hit the stage (well, the football field) wearing a stunning red off-the-shoulder gown with bold ruffles, a corseted bodice and a long, dramatic train, plus matching crimson opera gloves. Kara Nesvig, Allure, 12 Feb. 2023 Cox, meanwhile, conducted her interviews while wearing a black strapless leather gown of her own, made of what looked like crocodile leather and featuring gladiatorial golden appliqués across the bodice. Ashley Fetters Maloy, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2023 Heavily accented, mostly in sequins and crystals, its princess cut and grand skirting elegantly matches the off the shoulder bodice and veil. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


alteration of bodies, plural of body entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bodice was circa 1567

Dictionary Entries Near bodice

Cite this Entry

“Bodice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


bod·​ice ˈbäd-əs How to pronounce bodice (audio)
: the upper part of a dress

More from Merriam-Webster on bodice

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