bod·​ice | \ ˈbä-dəs How to pronounce bodice (audio) \

Definition of bodice

1 : the upper part of a woman's dress
2 archaic : corset, stays

Keep scrolling for more

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

Lili donned a pale blue gown with oversized gathered ruffles along the bodice, complimented by a short skirt and loooong train. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "The "Riverdale" Cast Walked the Met Gala 2019 Red Carpet," 7 May 2019 Emrata seemed to channel a few notes from Cher's signature styles from her days working with Bob Mackie on her red carpet and performance looks, including the barely-there bodice and the angel wing headpiece. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Emily Ratajkowski Channels Cher in a Naked Dress at the Met Gala," 7 May 2019 The two wore contrasting black-and-white looks including tall silk turbans and feather bodices: Imaan in a white headpiece with black feathers and Iman Abdulmajid in the opposite. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Imaan Hammam and Iman Cover Vogue Arabia," 27 Feb. 2018 Sticking with the homegrown feel of the event, Marta used 19th-century lace place mats that belonged to Carlo's grandfather's family for her dress's scoop-neck, short-sleeve bodice. Priya Rao, Town & Country, "A Tale of Two Houses," 4 Feb. 2013 The 1957-58 shirtwaist of shot-silk—bronze roses on black—has a tight bodice that buttons up like a bishop’s soutane and a skirt that flares out from a crow’s murder of small tucks. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "‘James Galanos: Design Integrity’ Review: The West Coast King of Fashion," 10 Nov. 2018 Two much smaller bows clung to either side of her bodice, serving as syrupy cherries on top of an already too-sweet sundae. Elizabeth Holmes, WSJ, "Can a Grown Woman Wear a Hair Bow?," 13 Feb. 2019 The singer made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, and did exactly that: her chic little black dress, with its narrow-cut bodice and sleeveless silhouette, allowed for a just-right glimpse of her many tattoo designs. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Miley Cyrus Proves Why Peekaboo Tattoos and a Dazzling Party Dress Are the Perfect Match," 14 Dec. 2018 The luxe wardrobe choice was unexpected for a soon-to-be royal, not only for its revealing bodice, but also for its $75,000 price tag. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Harry and Meghan's Photographer Reveals Why She Wore a Sheer Dress in the Engagement Photos," 10 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bodice

Statistics for bodice

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bodice

The first known use of bodice was circa 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bodice



English Language Learners Definition of bodice

: the upper part of a dress


bod·​ice | \ ˈbä-dəs How to pronounce bodice (audio) \

Kids Definition of bodice

: the upper part of a dress

Keep scrolling for more

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).


using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!